Tech in Action: Wrangler can tell if it’s on your booty

The jean brand capitalizes on the success of "Old Town Road" with an image recognition tool to unlock exclusive content.


You might not be able to tell Lil Nas X nothin’, but Wrangler is able to tell you if someone is wearing their jeans.

Lil Nas X’s smash hit “Old Town Road” features the line “cowboy hat from Gucci, Wrangler on my booty,” and the denim brand is celebrating its place in music history with a digital activation that rewards fans of the song.

“Old Town Road” was released late last year, but slowly picked up steam as users of TikTok – an app popular with young people that allows them to record short, often comedic videos over music clips – embraced the song’s fun-loving mix of hip-hop and country. The attention was enough to help it climb the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in March, before it was pulled for not qualifying as part of the country genre. That move sparked worldwide media coverage, with The New York Times calling the controversy: “the center of a debate on race, the Nashville establishment and musical genres.” All the coverage earned the catchy tune even more attention (it has since spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and generated a remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus), before a full-length music video was released last week.

That controversy led agency Mother, which counts Wrangler among its clients, to reach out to Lil Nas X. The result was which, when accessed on a mobile browser, allows users to take a photo of any booty wearing Wrangler jeans. If the AI-powered image recognition engine decides the photo is, in fact, of a pair of Wranglers on a booty, it will unlock behind-the-scenes content from the creation of the music video.

The site’s launch is also timed with the release of a limited Lil Nas X denim collection Wrangler, which began selling this week, featuring pieces emblazoned with lyrics from the song. Both efforts show Wrangler’s willingness to lean into the song’s success – Mother CCO Corinna Falusi cited Wrangler’s history of partnerships in country music, and sees this project as a chance to broaden the definition of the genre – despite some country fans objecting to the hip-hop star’s ongoing success and threatening to boycott. Some of the pieces in the Lil Nas X collection sold out shortly after they became available.