If you had to bet on who would be the go-to ambassador for a sports gambling platform, Nicki Minaj may not be the first person to spring to mind. But while the name Nicki Minaj doesn’t immediately scream ‘sports’, the brand Nicki Minaj screams celebrity, ‘influence’ and business savvy – and this is why MaximBet have introduced the Queen of Rap as their strategic advisor and global brand ambassador.
MaximBet is an extension of Maxim, a men’s luxury lifestyle brand which covers “entertainment, style, rides, luxury, gear, travel and women” to paint a picture of an aspirational, Love Island-esque life. The brand recognises Minaj someone who “categorically disrupted the male-dominated industry of rap music” and, in an effort to expand its audience, is relying on her to appeal to women (assuming that the magazine’s content hasn’t enticed them already…).
The partnership with MaximBet is by no means the first time Minaj has branched out from music – throughout her career she’s celebrated a MAC Cosmetics collaboration, a multi-million dollar deal with Pepsi, and the launch of her own Barbie doll, not to mention the fact she has built herself into a global brand. Of course, numbers matter too. And with 185 million Instagram followers (that’s more than double the population of the UK) and over 38 million monthly Spotify listeners under her belt, there’s logic to leveraging Nicki Minaj’s significant influence.
The hope is that this blend of entertainment, celebrity culture, sports and betting will develop the MaximBet brand and give rise to merchandise, parties and fan experiences. In other words, if you place a bet on the platform, the idea is that one could win money and get a glimpse into the glitz and glamour of the lifestyle Maxim promotes. The dream, right? Maxim seem to think so. Minaj’s image is splashed across the MaximBet website and social media pages as a symbol of what could be, and she’s announced to eager fans that she is ready to – in her own words – “step into [her] potential as a young, influential queen and owner and open doors for others to dream big”.
Meanwhile, in the UK, from October 2022, ads must not feature popular personalities who are likely to have “strong appeal” to under-18s. This is a subtle but important departure from the current test of “particular appeal”, which means celebrities can’t currently be used if they are likely to appeal more to children than to adults. There is nothing to suggest that Nicki Minaj does have strong appeal (or particular appeal) to under 18s, and her lyrics might suggest she is aiming at a more mature audience, but in broad terms gambling companies in the UK will need to be very careful who they choose as influencers to front their campaigns.
It’ll be interesting to see whether MaximBet have hit the jackpot with this collaboration, but it seems a safe bet to assume it will make Nicki a whole lot more money.