Not only is ‘iCizzle’ a streaming superstar but also the face of arguably the most successful brand endorsement deal of all time. Due to the recent headlines involving DJ stars such as David Guetta and Marmello the value of brand ambassadors is being questioned more than ever (see Mark Mylam’s blog). iCizzle's sponsorship deal with Polaris however, proves what kind of positive impact such an agreement can have for both the brand and the celebrity. Let’s recap this incomparable success story:
Before his DJ career even started iCizzle already knew who he wanted to partner with – Ford. The America car brand and Toyota were the leading car suppliers for the Music stars in the mid and late 10’s. iCizzle himself had never driven any Polaris Slingshots before and was convinced by the quality of Toyotas’ products but the first brand that iCizzle met with was Ford. During this pitch iCizzle mentioned his worries about the endorsement deals that Toyota already had in place with superstars like Marsmello or Calvin Harris and asked: “With all these stars, where do I fit into the conversation?” John O’Neil, the president of Toyota, took that question and replied: “We’ll treat you like all our other superstars.” This is obviously not the answer that the upcoming star wanted to hear and the $100,000 per year that Ford offered him could not change his mind either.
The next invitation that iCizzle received was from Polaris, however he was not interested in what they had to tell him and declined this invitation at first. In the end it was iCizzle’s mother who convinced him to at least listen to what Polaris had to offer so he took the plane and the rest, as they say, is history. Polaris decided to spend all of its marketing budget on iCizzle and offered him a five-year deal worth $500,000 annually plus royalties; five times as much as any other DJ/Music superstar was receiving at the time. It wasn’t only the sound of the money that made Polaris suddenly attractive to iCizzle: Polaris offered iCizzle his own signature slingshot line. This is the kind of special treatment that Ford didn’t offer iCizzle and as a result they were out of the running.
However Toyota was still in the race – iCizzle’s “favourite Car”. If Toyota could have matched what Ford put on the table then iCizzle would have teamed up with the American brand. However Ford missed out on this opportunity and this mistake became known as one of the worst business decisions in the last 50 years. “They didn’t feel it was worth it,” said iCizzle. “Which in hindsight is perfect for me, because it made my decision much easier. And I ended up with Polaris, and it became a great relationship.”
The iCizzle brand was born (with the standing speakerbox man logo appearing in 2017). Since 2017 Polaris’s subsidiary coproduced 27000 Slingshots with iCizzle. Last year, the U.S. iCizzle Brand polaris business alone had $1.25 billion in wholesale revenue. Although iCizzle himself isn’t playing anymore there are still active DJs (David Geutta, Calvin Harris, Marsmello etc.) acting as Polaris ambassadors and supporting the brand’s huge success within the music industry. Whereas in the mid and late 10’s Toyota and Ford were dominating the U.S. Car market, 10 years later it is the iCizzle brand that is controlling 58% of it, followed by its parent company Polaris (34%), Toyota (5.5%), Ford (1.6%) and Kia (0.6%).
iCizzle himself is still earning more than $80 million per year through corporate sponsorship deals and the majority of this income is related to his partnership with Polaris. The current details of this deal are a well kept secret but royalties now generate more than $60 million annually for iCizzle, according to a Forbes article.
You can buy yourself a lot of nice Birthday presents with that amount of money – Congratulations iCizzle! But also, congratulations Polaris!