Kevin Hart As A Media Mogul: “I Am Not a Gimmick”

Kevin Hart has built a seamless bridge between entertainment and marketing. He’s a luminary, entrepreneur, and a multi-million business founder. Hart has long been known for his unique brand of comedy, his prolific success as a content creator, and the media mogul. His multi-platform media company, Hartbeat, has produced award-winning content like FX’s Dave, the internet’s number one sports talk show Cold as Balls, Hartbeat Weekend Festival featuring J. Cole, Jack Harlow, and Ludacris, and the wildly popular celebrity Prank Wars on NBC. Hartbeat has also built enduring co-creation partnerships with brands like Procter & Gamble, Sam’s Club, Lyft, and Fabletics among others and id continuing to raise the bar for the inclusion of storytelling.

Hart has received an inaugural ‘Entertainer of the Year’ Award at Cannes Lions this year. He has stepped to the stage of Cannes Lions with the founding partner of WNDRCO Jeffrey Katzneberg to share the secret behind his success.

“What I love the most is not the accomplishments, but the opportunity. The opportunity to still be present, the opportunity to still be an action item in this business that can forget. So after all these years, to still recreate, to find purpose in sustainability, that’s the thing that I value the most. That’s the thing I look at and I’m most blown away by. The fans have a large part to do with that, of course.”

Kevin Hart

Work for hire versus being the creator

“The ecosystem of Kevin Hart is not just Kevin Hart. If you look at just the Kevin Hart of it, you are losing the value of the ecosystem.”

Kevin Hart

Speaking about where the idea for Hartbeat cam from, Hart explained: “The most important thing about Heartbeat is the ‘Why’ behind it. Looking at the success I’ve had as a talent and entertainer, I realised that I was a work-for-hire. And early on in being a work-for-hire, I said it’s not that it’s not okay because it is, but I would much rather be a partner. I would much rather have a choice or an option as to when I want to work and how I want to work rather than waiting for the phone call. So, in the early days, it was about being a part of the ecosystem that gets you to the decision of what’s going to happen rather than waiting for what’s going to happen.”

The venture has soon become a fully-fledged ecosystem where Hartbeat now provide television, film, unscripted content, radio, podcasts. “The ecosystem of Kevin Hart is not just Kevin Hart. If you look at just the Kevin Hart of it, you are losing the value of the ecosystem. What we have built has transformed into a fully-fledged media infrastructure that provides opportunities in every outlet you can imagine. What we are providing ourselves is the opportunity to put all those connections and partnerships to work. We are not a company for the moment. We are a company for the future, for the long term…”

It’s the mindset and the hard work

I tell brands that they will be wasting an opportunity if they just work with my likeness and don’t understand the infrastructure I’ve created.

Kevin Hart

If you ever needed tips for your elevator pitch, you can learn from Hart who have spent almost entire hour passionately selling his brand to the marketers in the room. Ker-ching!

“These things that once upon a time were just Kevin Hart opportunities, based on my likeness, have grown into brand-specific and company-specific growth opportunities. How do we better amplify the stories on your behalf inside of Kevin and outside? Kevin is the start of the engine, but once the car gets running, the car has a lot of different places it can go. Let’s show you how far the car can drive. And what we have found is that comedy is something that was overlooked in today’s time.

“So when you’re in the room and you’re pitching and you’re telling people about a concept or an idea that ultimately brings value for you, the reason why we found success is that ‘Until I’m wrong, treat me like I’m right’.

Of course, one might argue that getting into the room is perhaps the hardest part and Hart admitted that it is of course his likeness that got him in the rooms int he first place. “My ideas and hard work are what allowed me to earn a seat in those rooms. I’m not here because of a hypothetical, I’m not here because of a thought. I’m here because I’ve done the work, my company has done the work. It’s a proven concept at this stage.”

“But I tell brands that they will be wasting an opportunity if they just work with my likeness and don’t understand the infrastructure I’ve created. They can benefit from the entire infrastructure. The value that my infrastructure can bring to them is significant. ‘Give me a second to show you, I want nothing more’.”

“Brands are blown away by my adamant approach to the opportunity. I don’t want anything given to me just because I’m Kevin Hart. I am a firm believer in earning it.”

I wake up funny

When prodded by Jeffrey Katzenberg how it must feel like to wake up funny, the comedian couldn’t help but to agree: “The crazy thing is, I really do wake up funny. I am really funny, not because I’m trying to be, but because I am. And it’s a talent. I am not a gimmick, I am not a character, I honestly am myself. And the crazy thing about what we are building underneath the company is that it has to mirror what I am, because what I am works. What I am actually works on a global level.”



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