Brands Infiltrate the Music Industry?

The music industry, as late adopters to the new media world, are in need of alternative revenue streams to revive their bottom lines. In a world where piracy flourishes, new methods, such as product placement, are being explored to increase revenues. But will the public backlash?

pirate_musicAs well all know, the music industry was late to recognize the impact new media would have on its business. In the coming years, record labels and music retailers will have to re-emerge from the transformative chaos looking very different than they did pre-internet, a time where labels and retailers made money hand over fist selling $15 CD’s.

Late to understand, accept and embrace the changing landscape, the music industry is embrace new media as a way to connect with, influence and distribute content to internet savvy consumers. They are also looking for new revenue streams to replace declining record sales, especially as we enter an analog dollars to digital pennies world.

In an Product Placement article Music Gets Branded, an alternative method is emerging for labels and musicians to generate revenue that has nothing to do with increasing the sale of CD’s or directly combating piracy.

Product placement has increasingly become a method to finance television shows while giving products mass exposure by celebrities or reality stars. This is now being applied to artists and their music. Just like in past television series and movies, musicians gave “free” shout outs to their favorite brands in their lyrics.

busta-rhymes-courvoisierThe article in Product Placement compares Janice Joplin’s mention of “Mercedes Benz” in her lyrics to present day rap star Busta Rhymes mention of “Courvoisier”, which led to a contract with the cognac company after the song led to a huge increase in business for the brand. In a time when any and all revenue generating ideas are being explored, this exemplifies an opportunity that is just beginning to be seized by labels and artists as a means to generate revenue and keep the industry alive.

Musicians, like celebrities, have always endorsed products in print advertisements or on television spots. Brand marketers see an opportunity to get their products mentioned in a song, connecting the brand to the musician, and ultimately the consumer who listens to the music. Labels and musicians are warming up to the idea as an additional source of revenue.

The music industry needs to stay afloat, and alternative methods of selling music, such as digital distribution through iTunes, have not made up for previous CD sales in the days before online piracy. As the article stated, labels could eventually have no production cost as brands would front the entire cost to associate themselves with an artist.

On the flip side, artist integrity could be affected by this as their lyrics or packaging would be forced to include product, brand names, or maybe even logos. Clutter in the music space could occur quickly with many artists and labels looking to benefit from the contract deals, spewing brand names every chance they get, and saturating consumers with too many brand placements.

At least the music industry continues to try new things and branding within songs could be a way to stay afloat, for the time being.

Creative Intelligence Network

Intelligence and Creativity don’t always go together. In the case of GDR Creative Intelligence, it’s the basis of a perfect marriage. Unbranded Branding. Aesthetic Messaging. Three Dimensional Experiences. The Alchemy of Emerging Trends and Ideas made Manifest by Design – these are the subjects explored in my thought provoking interview, with Kate Ancketill, owner and president of GDR.

Is it marketing intuition? Chances are it’s GDR.

Intelligence and Creativity don’t always go together. In the case of GDR Creative Intelligence, it’s the basis of a perfect marriage. Unbranded Branding. Aesthetic Messaging. Three Dimensional Experiences. The Alchemy of Emerging Trends and Ideas made Manifest by Design – these are the subjects explored in my thought provoking interview, with Kate Ancketill, owner and president of GDR.

Follow us as she explains why business leaders around the world rely on the impartial vision of this very unique company.

Highlights from the Global Innovation report, a direct link between the creative and business communities, showcases innovation through striking visual narratives of emerging trends culled from a global network of designers, creatives and strategists who reveal their latest projects in totally transparent detail. Learn about the full range of essential services at their – and, now your fingertips and catch the buzz driving many of the most original thinkers of our time.

Showcasing Innovation GDR delivers a relevant and striking snapshot of emerging trends impacting key customer touchpoints, including: interiors, marketing, digital, new technologies, visual merchandising, packaging, product and service design. Applicable to all categories, GDR provides invaluable insights and tools for global consumer brands, highlighting the latest global developments in retail and hospitality.

Learn how GDR sources from a network of designers, creatives and strategists who reveal their latest projects in the detail you need – and who, directly and indirectly shape our world. Follow me as we uncover a new brand of matchmaking – the marriage of culture and commerce. Catch a glimpse of what the heads of leading businesses covet and meet the face (and many faces) of what lies ahead.

GDR’s impressive client list includes:

  • Barclays
  • British Airways
  • Coca – Cola
  • Co-Op
  • Coty
  • Kraft
  • Harrods
  • Hutchison 3G
  • Intercontinental Hotel Group
  • GAP
  • Jones Apparel Group
  • L’Oreal Paris
  • Limited Brands
  • LVMH
  • Macy’s
  • M&S
  • McDonald’s
  • Morgans Hotel Group
  • Nike
  • Nokia
  • O2
  • Orange France
  • P&G
  • Sony
  • Starwood Hotels
  • The Crown Estate
  • The Olympic 2012 Committee
  • Unilever
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • The Wrigley Company

Holocaust Remembrance Day. Branding Heroism. Branding Triumph.

The Faces of Redemption.

 The recent inauguration of the United States of America’s  first African American President was made even more poignant because of the history of despair, survival and sustained grace of African Americans – many of whom might be considered the ladders that enabled this momentous, historical, national   ‘redemption’.  While ladders are essential, it’s often the individual rungs of the ladder that are forgotten; yet, without them a ladder can never rise.  So, on this national Holocaust Remembrance Day, I would like to introduce you to a story of courage, greatness and love related to me by the daughter of  a Holocaust survivor, Stanley Glogover, by his daughter and my friend, Bonnie Glogover.  Like the rise of President Obama, Stanley’s is a  story of challenge and joy, of triumph and pain.  Regardless of our ancestry or creed, Bonnie not only honors a hero, she honors the heroic spirit so many of us need now as we face difficult times.  The story reminds us that with grace and courage, we too will not only survive, we will triumph. 

 Dear Raymond,

 Re: The 64th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

 My name is Bonnie Glogover. I am the daughter of a Holocaust Survivor.  I am responsible for successfully placing a Holocaust Remembrance Day on this nation’s calendar as of May 2000.  However, I have a much bigger story that needs to be told – it is of my father, living Holocaust Survivor Stanley Glogover.

 In honor of the forthcoming 64th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz occurring on January 27th of this year, I want his incredible saga to reach the minds and hearts of all who must never forget. I am hoping that the amazing survival story of my father, an eloquent and vital 82-year old can be the subject of a broadcast interview.

Stanley_Glogover_surviving_hitler_01

 In brief, after a year in exile in the ghettos of Makow-Mazowiecki and Mlawa, Northern Poland, Stanley and his family were shipped to Auschwitz in early 1942 where his mother and three younger siblings were immediately sent to the gas chamber.  He and his father, Lazer Glogover, were assigned to brute labor and after a few weeks his father went missing and Stanley assumed he had also been executed. 

 By many miracles Stanley managed to survive until the Germans evacuated him along with other prisoners, then sent them on a death march in 1945.  He and 3 other boys made a daring escape from the line and were rehabilitated by the Allies Displaced Persons program. Having lost 28 of his relatives, Stanley decided to journey to various DP camps to see if he could find any friend or neighbor left alive.

stanley_glogover_surviving_hitler_02

 His search took him across Europe. At the last DP center he visited in Southern Italy, he miraculously discovered his father-alive!  It took a while for them to recover from such an emotionally charged reunion.  They grieved together for the mother and wife and the children who had perished but the miracle of finding each other gave father and son strength and hope for the future. 

 In 1947 Stanley and his father immigrated to the USA to begin whole new life, finally free from the nightmare of WWII.

 For photos of my father “before and after” his camp detention as well as photos of him on a rare return to Auschwitz in March 2007 please visit: http://survivinghitler.com/photo.htm

 During this trip Stanley gave testimony to a major British filmmaker currently producing a documentary on the last generation of Holocaust survivors.  It was his first trip back since he regained his freedom, which was a brave and cathartic journey. 

 As you can well understand, my father represents a dwindling generation of survivors who are living testimonies to the Holocaust.  He would very much like the world to know his story and to bear witness.

 There’s a ferociously important and heartwarming story that begs to be heard. I’m hoping you’ll agree. 

 Sincerely,

 Bonnie Glogover

Email: GlogoverHosiery@aol.com

 Postscript:  Bonnie, I not only agree – I celebrate the justifiable pride of a loving daughter.  Your love is proof that love, indeed, triumphs  and is the only thing that endures or maintains value over time.  Stanley, despite his unimaginable ordeals, is deeply loved and a truly lucky man.  His is a story that should and will never be silenced.  I listen to his story with great respect.  I salute you both.   

 Raymond Nadeau

www.livingbrandslivingmedia.com

rnadeau@nyc.rr.com

 

 

Money Can Buy You Love

Let’s be honest. Many of us purchase gifts for others intended to say more about ourselves rather than to express appreciation of the person or persons we think we know or love.

And, perhaps even more self-servingly, we sometimes second-guess persons, particularly clients, bosses, girlfriends or boyfriends, with “tributes” that we know will appeal to their egos – the selves they wish they were, but we know they’re not – the “Machiavelli and Me” tried- and- true formula for gift-giving success.

However, the very worst gift-giving offense, yet a perennial favorite, has to be the “Mine-is-Bigger-than-Yours”” approach – particularly popular among males – and perfect for the persons on everyone’s shopping lists who truly know the price of everything and the value of nothing. This year, try something different.

I suggest dividing your lists into three camps – 1) those who want/need, 2) those who know/appreciate and 3) those who should really know better.

Whether it’s limited finances, career pursuits or a lack of the financial means necessary to pursue life-enriching hobbies, there are those individuals who, arguably, want and really need “stuff”.

Stuff is not inherently bad. Consumerism is not necessarily naughty.

However, before feeding the need, you should really take a look at the root of the need – and not just feed the bright and shiny leaves. This classification of recipient includes the adventurers in your life, the culturally-curious pseudo-anthropologists, the technophiles, the insatiable communicators, and all those who, while they do crave useful/beautiful things – still retain enough decency to realize that humanity, tolerance and ecological responsibility actually count for something – actually, count for everything.

And, if someone on your list falls into one of these general categories of gift recipients – but fails these last three qualifiers – don’t worry. Just write them off your list. Delete them off your Blackberry. Take them off of speed dials. Just think of it as an eliminatinion/downsizing of your gift obligations – not to mention constituting an early start on your new year’s resolution to unload unnecessary human baggage.

Don’t feel cruel; don’t feel guilty; and do not nurse regret over this. Some persons actually do deserve coal in their stockings. On this, both Santa and I agree. For the non-coal recipients, the following short list categorization should help you handle all three of the afore mentioned, deserving groups.

Group One – Those who want/need. Those who dare to dare.

Suggestions:

Gift #1 Walking Stick
Always popular among hikers. Great for stabilizing a person (physically) – these sticks can be purchased at sporting goods stores – or, they can be picked up off the ground for free. Of course, if you choose “free” – you might want to try drilling a hole in the pole and attaching a safety rope.

Gift #2 Hiking Boots
While an obvious choice – they’re not necessarily a great surprise. You see, more important than any other single hiking boot feature is fit. And, unless you can borrow the recipient’s foot for the afternoon – you might want to let him or her buy boots for themselves.

Gift #3 Compass
Warning – compasses point to magnetic north – not true north. As long as your adventurer knows that all that really matter is going in the opposite direction of where they’ve been in order to return to point “A” – this is not a big deal. If however, there is any question of this ability – don’t embarrass the recipient and risk getting them hopelessly lost. In other words – skip this option.

Gift #4 Tent
If giving a tent – try to get one with a security system. Since few if any of these exist – this is also not a fabulous option.

Ok, you may ask, given my pan of the above items, just what are good, safe options?

Glad you asked. For the person who seeks adventures beyond their nose, the following items are readily available and pose far less physical risk.

One of the accoutrements inherent to a life well lived is a second, or even third language. Rosetta Stone is the proven, fun and effective way to learn a new language.” Persons around the world, individuals, government agencies, corporations, schools and universities have used this easy-to-you technique to learn one or more of the 31 languages offered – languages which allegedly represent 90% of the languages spoken around the world.

How fabulous is it to know that once you finally reach an exotic destination that you will actually be able to speak with someone. The language programs, while not cheap, won’t break the bank either – ranging from around US$200 – to US$500.

You say your group Group Number One iconoclast has a lazy, hedonistic streak, could care less about communicating with others, but still loves surround-sound stereo equipment? Not to worry – the tech route is guaranteed to please. Why? Because these same super (though mono-lingual) communicators tend to run in packs and insist on being constantly entertained. So, if tastes skew towards the latest gadgets, why not consider some of the following ideas?

SONY PLAYSTATION PORTABLE PSP
More than simply a mobile Playstation, the PSP is a lightweight, compact, portable entertainment center with MP3 and video playback capabilities, a high-resolution 4.3 inch color TFT LCD screen, built in stereo system, input/ output connectivity and more. Games may be played online against other players via the 802.11 b Wi-Fi feature and users will simply adore the wide variety of cinema entertainment on this amazing handheld.

NOKIA N72 CELLULAR PHONE
Savvy and chic, the Nokia N72 cellular phone not only incorporates the latest advancements in cellular technology, but combines its users’ techno-savvy with a sophisticated sense of style. This uber-hip phone comes in both pearl pink and gloss black with a matching wrist strap and headset – and allows for both photo and video enhancement with Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition. Furthermore, the N72 has USB 2.0 connectivity, Bluetooth capability, is available in Tri-band GSM (900/1800/1900) frequency and allows for up to 20 MB of internal dynamic memory.

APPLE IPOD
The true definition of entertainment on the go, Apple has released its 5th generation of iconic audio devices just in time for the holidays. Thinner and and available in five stylish colors, the iPod® 5G holds up to 20,000 songs, 25,000 photos and nearly 100 hours of video for endless media and audio entertainment while traveling, shopping, exercising or just hanging out.

BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 2 ACOUSTIC NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES
Since most travel, particularly air travel has become downright gruesome, you can now give the gift of peace and quite along the way. Consider Bose Quiet Comfort® headphones – their patented noise reduction technology is specifically engineered for airline travel, and blocks out all background sounds while providing a clear, rich audio experience for both movies and music.

SLINGBOX BY SLINGMEDIA
This amazing device allows the weary road warrior to kick back, watch the Steelers vs. Giants game from their hotel room in Tokyo, laugh out loud at Seinfeld re-runs in a Dubai café or enjoy the latest episode of House in a your friend in Bangkok’s spare room. The Slingbox™ turns any Internet-connected PC, Mac, or mobile device into the user’s home television.

Group Two – Those Who Would Rather Know than Need

Don’t we all love the literate among our friends and family? They make our gift-giving jobs so easy. These “students of now” – these “connoisseurs of culture” – these “ethnicity enthusiasts” appreciate everything from magazine subscriptions to travel books. One such classic may have even indirectly influenced the ex-pat lives many of these recipients (and you) have chosen. Whether silken or otherwise, all roads lead to Marco Polo.

Travels, by Marco Polo (1298) was dictated to a romance writer named Rustichello – during a period in which both Rustichello and Polo shared an Genoese prison cell. The book has been referred to as a “book of dreams” – planting the seeds of western fascination with all things eastern. The customs, the fabulous riches, the tribes – even the golden fingernails and teeth. Consider that Christopher Columbus, Magellan, and Vasco da Gama all carried these tales with them. While difficult to find, The Travels of Marco Polo can still be found in two volumes (Dover Publications, 1993). It remains a continued source of fascination for the explorers on your gift list.

However, not everyone in the previously mentioned group goes for the classics. It’s sad but true. This group also includes the not-so-easily-excited couch potatoes as well as the fiery rebels (teenage or otherwise) on your list. Both of these Group Two sub-groups demands rapid-fire information, simple formats and social/cultural revolution with little or no effort.

For this group, why not consider another type of book? You can never go wrong with Naomi Klein, author of No Logo – the definitive anti-brand statement written by a woman obsessed with consumerism.

Her latest book, The Shock Doctrine, is equally sure to incite righteous, though harmless mental indignation.

Amazon.com Review
”Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine advances a truly unnerving argument: historically, while people were reeling from natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, savvy politicians and industry leaders nefariously implemented policies that would never have passed during less muddled times. As Klein demonstrates, this reprehensible game of bait-and-switch isn’t just some relic from the bad old days. It’s alive and well in contemporary society, and coming soon to a disaster area near you.”

Then, to further arm your reluctant radical, you might want throw in a copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s, The Tipping Point – an interesting, pro-business chronicle of trends and their impact on marketing. Skip Blink, his other book. It’s dumb – even for dumb persons pretending to be smart.

And, of course, saving the best for last, consider buying my book, Living Brands, Collaboration + Innovation = Customer Fascination – which occupies neutral territory within this genre – combining both types of information, far more interesting case studies, is very well written and, last but not least, sports a jaunty pink cover, designed by celebrity designer, Karim Rashid – rendering it perfect for virtually any trendy décor.

Group Three – Those Who Should Know Better But Don’t

Speaking of exteriors, this brings us to Group #3 on your list – the fashonistata, more-is-more junky who thrives on the notion of celebrity. If you were to ask them directly, they would be oblivious to recessions, global warming and political unrest. Brittney’s mental illness, Jessica’s eyeliner and Amy’s latest stint in rehab represent far more pressing issues.

For this clueless group – giving them the gift of guidance is humane and possibly enlightening. That is to say, teach them that being hip is not about copying the hip, rich and famous. Explain to them that a bottle of J-Lo’s perfume is not really the distillation of Jennifer Lopez, pressed through a J-Lo Juice Extractor and poured, in liquefied form, into bottles ready to be sprayed all over their bodies – as might otherwise happen in cannibal rituals.

At first, this may not sink in. So, set them up with a Skype account. It’s a free way for them to benefit from your guidance – even if you live far away from them. Which, for your sake, I hope you do.

Hello. We’re Skype…

Once you have penetrated the rational region of the recipient’s brain – you might remind them that celebrities hang out with other celebrities – they don’t share clothes or sniff each other to make sure they all emit the same odor. With this in mind, you could bestow upon them lists of true notables, all of whom have donated their money and talent to a range of positive causes – erradicating pain, hunger and disease – as well as saving the planet and preserving human rights.

If at first they balk, remind them that one of the philanthropic side benefits is ample opportunity to attend parties, wear nice clothes and lots of jewelry that would otherwise be inappropriate for anything less than a coronation. I guarantee you this will draw them in.
Once you supply the list of charities and their hyper-hip supporters, you can then make a donation in your recipient’s name – and even encourage them to join the exclusvie party themselves. They’ll feel cool. You’ll feel good. The world will be a better place.

You Are As Cool As The Company You Keep

The following list of the world’s trendy elite demonstrates just how donating to a charity in someone’s name can instantly enter them into that rare circle of conscientiously elite.

Amnesty International has received support from the following celebrities:

• Aerosmith
• Alan Rickman
• Al Pacino
• Annie Lennox
• Avril Lavigne
• Ben Harper
• Bono
• Bruce Springsteen
• Bryan Adams
• Chevy Chase
• Chris Martin
• Christina Aguilera
• Coldplay
• Colin Firth
• Corinne Bailey Rae
• Eddie Izzard
• Eric Clapton
• Green Day
• Jack Johnson
• Jennifer Lopez
• Jennifer Saunders
• John Cleese
• John Oliver
• Kate Bush
• Lenny Kravitz
• Leo Sayer
• Michael Stipe
• Nicolas Cage
• Peter Gabriel
• Pete Townshend
• Radiohead
• Richard Gere
• Robbie Coltrane
• Robin Williams
• Rosario Dawson
• Rowan Atkinson
• Sadie Frost
• Seth Green
• Shingai Shoniwa
• Sting
• Toni Collette
• U2

UNICEF has received support from the following celebrities:

• Agnes Chan
• Alison Mau
• Alyssa Milano
• Angelina Jolie
• Angélique Kidjo
• Annie Lennox
• Antonio Banderas
• Audrey Hepburn
• Belinda Stronach
• Charley Boorman
• Chris Daughtry
• Chris Rock
• Christopher Lee
• Claudia Schiffer
• Clay Aiken
• Damian Lewis
• Daniel Radcliffe
• Danny Glover
• David Beckham
• Diego Maradona
• Edmund Hillary
• Elle Macpherson
• Eric Clapton
• Ewan McGregor
• Forest Whitaker
• Graça Machel
• Gwen Stefani
• Harry Belafonte
• Hayley Westenra
• Heidi Klum
• Helena Bonham Carter
• Hugh Grant
• India.Arie
• Jackie Chan
• Jemima Khan
• Jessica Lange
• Joel Madden
• Julia Roberts
• Keira Knightley
• Kelly Clarkson
• Laurence Fishburne
• Leo Sayer
• Liam Neeson
• Liv Tyler
• Lucy Liu
• Malaak Compton-Rock
• Marcus Samuelsson
• Melanie Griffith
• Michael Schumacher
• Mikael Silvestre
• Muhammad Ali
• Nana Mouskouri
• Nicole Kidman
• Nicole Richie
• Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
• Penelope Cruz
• Pierce Brosnan
• Pink
• Queen Rania Al Abdullah
• Ralph Fiennes
• Richard Quest
• Rick Mercer
• Rihanna
• Robbie Williams
• Roger Moore
• Rowan Atkinson
• Sacha Baron Cohen
• Salma Hayek
• Sarah Jessica Parker
• Selena Gomez
• Shakira
• Summer Sanders
• Susan Sarandon
• Tea Leoni
• Teri Hatcher
• Terry Venables
• The Wiggles
• Thierry Henry
• Toni Collette
• Tony Blair
• Victoria Beckham
• Wayne Rooney
• Will Ferrell

Top celebrities for the Environment

  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Jack Johnson
  • Daryl Hannah
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Al Gore
  • Sting
  • Brad Pitt
  • Cameron Diaz

Top celebrities for AIDS

  • Bill Clinton
  • Bono
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Elton John
  • Brad Pitt
  • Annie Lennox
  • George Michael

Post Script: For any of you interested in providing a tangible, limited edition fashion photograph by famed photographer Richard Phibbs – and help children living with AIDs in Romania, might I suggest going to http://www.childrenofnowhere.com/ Or contact Teddy Borsen, tborsen@yahoo.com for more details.

The Mummy Meets Olympia – It’s Not Nearly Monstrous

What the Mummy and Olympic commercials have done is create something new, something less deceptive — something less deja vu. They have created an example of a new type of co-branding, one that is based on something I call hyper-reality.

So much of what is called viral advertising, a term I refer to in my book, Living Brands, Collaboration + Innovation = Customer Fascination, as “cohort advertising” is really finely orchestrated, banal, predictable, subliminal propaganda. It makes me sick. Passing fantasy off as reality has its place — in fact, it is the essence of art. And, great art tends to grow in recognition through word of mouth. However, when commerce distorts or misrepresents reality to promote consumption, the question of ethics arises.

In one of the best recent examples of marketing bridging this dilemma with at least some degree of finesse, the film, The Mummy and the Olympics have co-branded — all driving consumers towards pivotal August launches. Guess what? It works on multiple levels. It charms. And, in my opinion, while far-fetched and a little dopey, it truly neither demeans the Olympics nor passes the movie off as having anything at all to do with the games. Yet, together, each “brand” becomes stronger. How? I have my theory.

The commercial which adroitly threads compatible elements and emotions common to both “brands” — both of which are are “filmed on location” in China this, fuses fascinating, finely edited threats, an effort in co-branding that goes beyond the deception of passing fantasy off as reality — such as is the case, in a far less fascinating marketing link, as it relates to claims that Olympic limited edition crap (such as Olympic Coke cans) have any legitimate place within the spirit of the Olympic “brand”.

Perhaps true to its new “Coke Side of Life” positioning, Coca Cola believes it has the right to reinvent and modify one of the world’s oldest shared cultural events in order to sell soda pop. Or, maybe it was just an easy thing to do? They did it because they could. I really don’t care and doubt the consumer will either.

What the Mummy and Olympic commercials have done is create something new, something less deceptive — something less deja vu. They have created an example of a new type of co-branding, one that is based on something I call hyper-reality. I don’t know whether it is I who coined the term hyper-reality relative to marketing. I hope that I have. I would feel smart. Why? Because the reference is needed when it comes to explaining how something like Olympic Gymnastics and Cheerios might have anything to do with one another – and it makes those of us working in marketing and advertising look less like fools.

When done correctly — and it rarely is — the reality of culture can indeed fuse with both the myth and the reality of a brand. It’s not often I have seen it done — let alone done well. But in the case of Hollywood meets the Olympics, the Mummy meets Beijing — my hat goes off. I did not want to like the result — but I did. For once, I almost had to.

Advertising Redemption. Army Strong. Army Wrong

The agency responsible for this piece of trash should be put behind enemy lines with a water pistol.

Redemption is an odd word.

It pretty much always means that one has done something bad.

And, truth be told, I have done a few naughty things in the name of my occupation. Because I have held a few impressive sounding marketing and advertising positions, I was provided the enviable opportunity to “come clean”. What I mean by that is that two years ago I published a book from McGraw Hill titled Living Brands, Collaboration + Innovation = Customer Fascination. www.livingbrandslivingmedia.com.

It’s a really good book and McGraw Hill is a great company, allowing me to voice some radical theories – radical by business book standards anyway. I had hoped to title the book, Corporate Whores and Profit Pimps, in response to an epiphany I had had, which, at the time, inspired me to do something that would make me feel good about having worked in industries which were fundamentally advanced exercises in propaganda, mental manipulation and that promoted wanton consumerism that threatened to extinguish mankind and the planet. It was pretty heavy stuff.

So, my book has the nerve to suggest that we end the sort of neo-Freudian, fear-based marketing that creates artificial demand and spend more time truly looking at our fellow human beings – empowering them to voice their needs organically through any of the number of technological marvels now available. And, my theory – which I must say, based upon many of the things I have seen since the book’s publication, has proven itself remarkably prophetic – another word for true. And, since voicing my business heresy, I find I am working more than ever – it is definitive proof that there is still a chance to do both well and do good.

So, why this blog? The fact is, as nice and forward-thinking as they are, McGraw Hill was against fucking – or so it seemed. In one of the book’s interviews, I wanted to use a quote containing the word fuck. I also slipped a fuck into another section – just for fun. When my wonderful editor said one fuck was enough – I laid down the law: “If I can’t have multiple fucks, I don’t want to fuck at all.” Of course, I was kidding. But, my hope is that cyberspace will allow me to more closely scrutinize the real world of consumerism and marketing – a world where people fuck and get fucked every day. I don’t want to fuck the world. I just want to make the world fucking better – (that’s a metaphor by the way).
What You Can Expect from My Blog:

Once a week, I am going to survey marketing and advertising examples and respond to outmoded, unethical practices, suggesting how they may have better connected with the real world – thus “redeeming” those practices in the process. Since this entry is already a little long – I will provide a quick example for now. This fuck will have to be a quickie. But you should get the point.

Old-School Marketing Law: Guilt is the mother of all sales. Make a person feel inadequate and he or she will buy into anything.

Current Example: Army Strong Advertising Campaign. “You made them strong; we’ll make them army strong.”

Army_Strong

Conclusion: Army Strong is really Army Wrong. The agency responsible for this piece of trash should be put behind enemy lines with a water pistol. To play upon subliminal parental pride in an effort to engage parents in persuading young persons – many of whose judgment skills are not yet even fully developed – to join the Army is about as low as it goes. Stalin and Hitler would have been proud. This is not a political statement – it is an ethical position. It’s not the war I am protesting (although it’s well worth protesting), it’s the way the client (the army) and the advertising agency (I am still tracking it down) have created a message that tries to address the need of parents to do right by their children – but ends up twisting these good intentions into something nothing short of evil propaganda.

Remedy: Had the commercial been honest – stating that the army is seeking out persons of fortitude and that such persons are rare – the element of manipulation would not have been as overt – although it would have still existed. Had the commercial stated that the army is confronting a difficult task and needs assistance – downplaying its central role – then the need of some individuals to express their strength through what they believe to be patriotic contribution would have been legitimately addressed. Now, I might have disagreed with the outcome. But, the advertiser would have been absolved. As a note here, lest any of you come to the conclusion that I believe that the end justifies the means, you have me all wrong. I just happen to believe that culture owns commerce – not the other way around. And, changing culture is another subject. A bigger subject. And, my head can only wrap itself around one subject at a time – at least for now.