That's right. Sean Combs very recently changed his moniker from Diddy back to Puff Daddy. As the marquee keynote at this year's ad:tech San Francisco, he took the stage last on day two. (All the signage said Diddy, but who can keep up with this guy?) While attendees waited on a fashionably late Puff Daddy, Steve Katelman of Omnicom marched on stage to interview the hip hop star, carrying a bottle of Ciroc and two shot glasses exclaiming, "Let's see what happens when Sean Combs and I bust through this bottle of vodka."
Image via Twitter.
When Puff made it on stage, the first question Katelman asked him was "So, what the do i call you?" He replied "Sean," saying he could feel the intimacy in the room. The second question was "Why are you here?" Sean laughed and said he didn't know. Presumably he was there to discuss the launch of his new TV network, RevoltTV, and inspire attendees with marketing advice, both of which i suppose he did in his own way. (Whilst collecting an easy paycheck, promoting himself, and getting a little drunk.)
Upon examination of the Twitter feed for #adtechSF during the keynote, it would appear that Combs' performance was somewhat polarizing. That said, he clearly had many fans in the audience, and he brought audience members with questions up on stage to do a shot with him. I found the whole thing goofy and entertaining, though at times I definitely had no idea what he was talking about. But there were inspiring moments, too.
He had a lot to say about the model for music changing and how artists need a viable platform to tell their stories, especially after MTV abandoned music. Combs claimed that most musicians that have something to say aren't all over the radio. He hopes RevoltTV will give these artists a chance to speak. He told the story of when he was launching an album and his marketing people were telling him to go on "Dancing With The Stars." "There was no place for me to just tell my story as a recording artist," he said.
Combs briefly talked real-time and startup culture, and he strongly urged brands to listen to young people. But ultimately, his meandering keynote seemed to come down being real. "There's a level of currency that comes with really sticking to your guns," he said.
And there were a lot of these moments:
Image via Instagram.
Then there were the far out moments when Combs made analogies about the galaxy, high school crushes, and more. And of course, he made plenty of grandiose attention-grabbing statements like "I will bring back rock and roll," "I believe God is a woman," and "I'm very big on disruption. I love f***ing chaos." I won't say he didn't entertain, although he certainly also confused -- and probably angered a few. In the end, he was at least fun and gave some meaningful advice. The most important message was that brands must be forward-thinking, stay real, and have conversations with young people rather than advertising to them.