Ahead of releasing one of this year’s most highly anticipated rap albums, rapper Lil Uzi Vert decided to sidestep the record label and do his own thing for one of the most important elements of an album release — the artwork.
Uzi just ran a series of A/B tests using his organic social traffic to determine his creative direction.
After mocking up 3 final options (he was workshopping all of them with his fans on social), Uzi used Twitter’s polling tool to publish this survey:
When this first came out, I wonder what the marketing, survey grouping, and A&R departments at the record label thought when he sidestepped all the ‘experts’/’tastemakers’ and collected his own data (in a few hours) to determine his creative direction. Maybe they were actually on board with it?
The thing is, Uzi didn’t just stop there.
See, ‘Album cover 2’ won by a landslide, but Uzi actually had a personal preference for ‘Album cover 3.’
So, in order to really confirm that Album Cover 2 was much more preferred than Album Cover 3 (his personal favorite), he decided to run another A/B Test — a classic practice for marketers when they believe their initial data set doesn’t have enough statistical significance. This time, he ran the same test but eliminated Album Cover 1:
Here, we see that the initial results are confirmed, even with the fans who initially voted for Album Cover 1 being split among the other two options.
With this data, Uzi decided to go with the data but also strike a compromise between the customer’s favorite and his own favorite, Album Cover 2 will be the creative for the cover, but Album Cover 3 will be the creative for the track list:
Lil Uzi Vert is signed to Atlantic Records, one of the largest record labels in the world, and he’s notorious for refusing to do things their way. I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall during the emergency meeting that was inevitably called at Atlantic when Uzi pulled this one. He went directly against the mechanisms of a massive corporation to pull this off.
Oh, and this all happened within 24 hours… That’s how he decided the creative for what will be one of this year’s biggest rap albums.
This is an example of pure instinct and disruption from this digitally-native 25 year old rapper. He’s not a professional digital marketer, but he has the intuition to understand the importance of data-driven creative and how to use the tools at his disposal to collect organic testing data. He has the audacity to admit that his personal taste-making as a creative should be guided by his audience, rather than just his own intuition.
There’s a humbling lesson to be learned here for marketers who still ‘guess’ at what their creative should look like, and there’s so many tools out there (like Marpipe) to enable marketers to implement data-driven creative at scale for their brands.