Monday, March 05, 2012

Pop Music Untruth in Advertising

I have no qualms about musicians and composers making money off their music through advertising, but sometimes the concept is taken to ridiculous extremes. Such as this use of "Price Tag" by Jessie J featuring B.o.B. (I feel stupid just typing that, but that's what it is). This is a sweet-natured "message song" encouraging us to forget about the price tag because "it's not about the money money money." It's a positive notion—forgoing our current obsessions with materialism, status and bling, and instead aiming for danceable bliss and living in the moment.

But hold on a minute—looks like Hasbro, maker of the classic Monopoly board game, have bought the rights to "Price Tag" for their latest TV commercials. And in order to fit into the Monopoly theme, they've changed the lyrics so the song means exactly the opposite of its message. Now it's ALL about the ka-ching ka-ching and the ba-bling-ba-bling. A complete turn-around! My son even prefers this version over the original. Stupid, powerful, successful advertising!

If I can't beat them, I'll join them. Let's listen in on an important ad exec meeting where we go over a number of musical possibilities to push product right to the emotional core of the sons and daughters of Mr. and Mrs. USA.

Ad Exec #1: Check this out! We take Bob Dylan's version of "Blowin' In The Wind" but change the lyrics to, The answer my friend, is watching CNN / The answer is watching CNN...

Ad Exec #2: It's been done, in the UK already.

Ad Exec #1: But not for CNN.

Ad Exec #3: I'll get Bob on the phone today. I was an intern on his Cadillac spot in '07.

Ad Exec #1: DO IT! OK, I'm looking at the Arrid Extra Dry account—how about Tracy Chapman's "Talkin' 'bout A Revolution" but we change the lyrics to Talking about your perspiration...

Ad Exec #2 (tentatively singing): Finally got a hot date tonight. / Talkin' 'bout your perspiration. / Now you're up for that big promotion. / Talkin' 'bout your perspiration... 

Ad Exec #1: We end on a massive close-up of Arrid Aerosol Antiperspirant with a fist raised in solidarity to dry underarms!

Ad Exec #3: Uh, not sure Chapman will go for this...

Ad Exec #1: Just get her on the phone. She can't stay underground forever.

Ad Exec #2: OH MY GOD! I've got it! I've got it! Neil Young: "This Note's For You" ... FOR THE BUDWEISER ACCOUNT!

Ad Exec #1: You mean change it to Neil singing: This Bud's for you...? You're brilliant, bro!

Ad Exec #2: And Neil's got integrity, man! The kids'll really listen to him.

Ad Exec #3: Uh... guys...? Ah shit, never mind... (shrugs, pulls out cell phone, starts dialing)

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