Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The price of cool - the unholy alliance of music and advertising

Bloggers and other people who write for free must eventually contend with the question of advertising: to place ads on the blog or not. On the one hand, it's a fairly painless process that will provide grocery money (or much more for a chosen few) from a labor of love. On the other, it really messes with the look of the blog and you know, it's advertising. We'll never embrace advertising. Even people who work in advertising loathe advertising.

We're marketed to almost from birth when the photo rep comes around the maternity ward, waking the new moms by shoving forms in their faces to purchase baby's first photo (less than an hour old--not usually a good look). Even as I type this, I'm looking at my turn-of-the-century circus posters hanging on my wall. Advertising as quaint decor. Also in place is my Obama diorama full of campaign buttons and decals. Advertising for power. Who else has succumbed to the easy money of the sales pitch? I looked up the coolest people I could think of and here's what I found.

Caveat: I have no "pure" concepts in regards to "selling out" at all. I've got advertising right here on the blog, if you haven't noticed (please click--I'm jobless, so go right ahead!). Also: musicians are truly struggling to make a living, especially if they're oddballs with their own style and flair. The kids are not paying for recordings any more, so that means touring constantly. And that's not ultimately a healthy lifestyle, and not even that lucrative for most. So if musicians want to be cool but also get paid to shill product, we have only ourselves and the current digital market to blame. Otherwise, they'd all be working as office temps and then where would we be?

Iggy Pop. He's already licensed his music around but this is above and beyond the call of advertising.

Debbie Harry bread commercial. I hope she made some serious "bread," man.

She looks good in jeans. Good call, Murjani.

Eminem for Chrysler. This ad had an ad embedded in it. I've reached my quota, thank you.

Epic BMW short film with James Brown. And an explosion and Marilyn Manson. No surprises here; just buy the car, chumps.

Bob Dylan for Cadillac Escalade. Oh lord, this one is tough to take and has already been adequately parodied by Wreck & Salvage.

Metallica in a Guitar Hero ad that references "Risky Business," old guys and explosions. Blatantly uncool concept trying to prove it's cool, which makes it even more uncool. Is this partially why Guitar Hero is now defunct?

The Clash for Levi's. *sigh*

Please feel free to visit our kind sponsors in the margins of the screen. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

For some temporary reason, Firefox couldn't find the servers for all those adverts, so they showed on my screen as grey blanks, and thank god for that. The Clash? Levis? Sigh, indeed.

Was in the other room today when I heard my TV playing one of my fave Pogues songs. I'd been half-watching the World Cup Womens Giant Slalom Skiing - Go Tina! -- on commercial broadcast digital channel 11.3, Universal Sports, so this Pogues thing didn't compute in my brain.. huh? wha? I had to go look, and sure enough -- Subaru ad. D'Oh!

Anonymous said...

i hear ya here. and as one of those musicians who seemingly make almost nothing from the efforts, i could blame it on a number of things. but there's that word. blame. it's se useless. and probably way too ego centric. sometimes the art ain't right or good enough, or the timing wrong. you focus on the art and just do it. Then you can be happy. BUT one thing is for sure, once you catch the money flows and these days it flows with advertising. until then, no way - especially as a vehicle to become known, yuk.