J Balvin isn't the star of his latest video; barbers, gift shop owners, florists, and street vendors are. In a content partnership with UPS — yes, the mail service, which funded, filmed, and branded the video — the Medellín-born star is highlighting the entrepreneurial spirit of his roots.
"The Latino community are beautiful, diverse, and hardworking people," Balvin tells Rolling Stone , discussing the inspiration for the commissioned song, "Juntos Imparables," and its video. "So many small businesses were devastated last year and I wanted to play a role in helping support the enterprising people who were affected by the pandemic."
Issues related to Covid-19 disproportionately affected the Latinx community, according to UPS representatives, with 32 percent of the nation's Latinx-owned small businesses closing during the first month of the pandemic. Since UPS works with many small businesses, the company said it wanted to call attention to problems faced by a variety of minority owners, including members of the black and LGBTQ+ communities. In this latest offshoot of what UPS calls its "Proudly Unstoppable" campaign, the company devised a video-based marketing plan to promote Latinx business owners, roping in the celebrity widely referred to as "the prince of reggaeton," as well as TikTok, the epicenter of youth culture.
Sources say Balvin will unleash the song via TikTok some time on Wednesday, challenging his followers to use the sound to spotlight their own or favorite Latinx-owned small businesses. The song's full video is available to watch exclusively here on Rolling Stone.
As part of the campaign, UPS is also launching a limited-edition box that features both Spanish and English messaging and artwork by Mexican graphic designer and illustrator Luis Pinto. It will have 650,000 medium-sized express boxes and special envelopes available at select UPS stores, and the artwork will also be displayed in mural form on the side of Chicago restaurant La Josie in July. According to press materials, UPS will donate $150,000 to the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, an organization dedicated to the economic growth and development of nearly five million Hispanic-owned businesses.
This isn't the first time J Balvin has crafted a song for a major brand. Actually, it's not even the first time this year: When he was putting the finishing touches on a track for Pokémon in the spring, he told Rolling Stone that he was "looking for different ways to elevate not just me but our culture and lifestyle." Balvin added, at the time: "I'm trying to find ways to connect to the world, knowing the situation the whole world is going through. We have to connect to the people."
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