behind the streams: pass the what?
  • MONDAY, MAY 09, 2011

  • Posted by: David Moffly

We all know brand marketing works. And in the music business, no one is better at brand market than the hip-hop/rap crowd. They run laps around everyone and have been doing so for years. But how much is too much?

The "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll ethos of music has been around forever and its potential negative impact on youth has been well discussed and fought about. The glorification of youthful rebellion and acting out is the central theme of the vast majority of our popular music. From The Who to Ke$ha, artists glorify youth culture and all the behavior that is supposed to be a part of it. In my teens, we all smoked as much pot as possible and put on Led Zeppplins' "House's of the Holy" and Pink Floyds' "Dark Side of the Moon" and felt that we were fully participating in the culture and message of the time as well as getting one over on our parents. This was of course the 70s, little did we realize our parents were on their own extended substance binges and key parties. We were young and to participate in this we were and today are still exhorted to go out and get ripped and party.

Today our popular music idols provide us a branded guide on the road to excess. We now know that Trey Songz prefers Hennessey and that Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog prefer Ciroc and that J-Lo prefers to party with Crown Royal. Avril Lavigne and Britney are brand whores with Sony Computers and their individual fragrances. Shockingly Ke$ha while she is "singing" about her bottle of Jack completely avoids the product shot (guess Jack Daniels wasn't down for paying for a brand shot in a video with a blond floozy, or some of this branding involves the artists' stake in the products success, or both).

My daughters who watch a ton of music videos on-line now know that to party like Dr. Dre/Snoop/Akon or J-Lo as part of their youthful rebellion they will be required to buy Crown Royal or Ciroc to feel fully engaged. When did getting wasted like your heroes go from 'whatever you could buy cheaply or steal from my parents' to 'I need to buy the brands in the video'? Perhaps selling out is more than just a sponsorship; it's shameless shilling disguised as art.

Dr Dre:


Not surprisingly, Dr. Dre also features his Beats headphones in this video.

J Lo:


I was surprised to learn that to feel fully J-Lo here I needed to go out and buy some pricey Swarovski earrings.

In the 70s, the Rolling Stones were "elegantly wasted"; If they were so today (as their younger selves, not the corporation they are now), it would still probably be "— brought to you by Grey Goose".

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