Watch: Stephen Colbert and Jack White Release their Single
    • FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 2011

    • Posted by: Dominick Sorrentino

    Stephen Colbert has been involved with unorthodox marketing gimmicks before. No one can forget about his partnership with the hipster mayonnaise company, Miracle Whip. But his new collaboration with Jack White and The Black Belles redefines creative sponsorship.

    We've already heard Conan's collab with "Third Man Records" to produce his comical ode to Frankenstein "And They Call Me Mad." But Jack White's record label is going all out with this newest comedic crusade. Last night Jack White introduced The Black Belles and Stephen Colbert as they performed their single "Charlene II (I'm Over You)", following up 2007's "Charlene (I'm Behind You)." The lyrics are clever: "We'll have to be just friends/ Gonna sell my telephoto lens." Behind the funny banter is a bluesy rock riff played by The Black Belles, and smeared with the hand print of Jack White and his label; it's actually kind of catchy.

    But the hilarity and catchiness have a catch of their own. Initially it seemed like White's rendezvous with funny people was small time stuff to haul in a few extra k's for Third Man and bolster some publicity. But thanks to Stephen Colbert, everyone will know the name "Black Belles" and their gimmicky goth aesthetic by the time they produce their next album. Odds are that this was exactly what White intended, and we agree that it's an effective publicity scheme. Nevertheless, even this catch has a catch, a meta-catch, if you will.

    Just because White's publicity tactics are sharp doesn't mean Third Man Records will be able to effectively market The Black Belles. For example, will the band ever be able to shed their comedic associations and be taken seriously as musicians? And can they do it without changing their name and revamping their image? In other words, will they ever really get over Charlene? If the answer is yes to most of these questions, then Jack White is more than just a musical genius; he's also a marketing wiz. If it's no, well then, he's still a musical genius, but one with a well-publicized failure of a production gig to his name.

    But enough with the forecasting. For now, just enjoy this video:

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