The First Rule Of Product Placement In Songs: You Don't Talk About Product Placement In Songs

from the that-ought-to-make-quite-a-tune dept

We’ve pointed out recently that as brand advertisers recognize increasingly that content is advertising, they’re looking to all sorts of new ways to do “product placement” in places you might not expect. For example, we’ve talked about product placement in novels. But, what better place for product placement than in a song? Lots of famous songs mention brand names, and it seems some creative advertisers are now going out and trying to sell such placement. At least that’s what’s being suggested after some guys who received an unsolicited offer to have their brand in a song went and published the email they received. The email notes:

“I’m writing because we feel you may be a good company to participate in a brand integration campaign within the actual lyrics of one of the worlds most famous recording artists upcoming song/album.”

Of course, now there’s also something of a dispute concerning the publicizing of the email. The guy who apparently sent the email is threatening to sue the recipients who posted it to their blog — though it’s entirely unclear what they’d be suing over, other than that someone called them out for their marketing practices.

In the meantime, I don’t see any problem with bands mentioning brands in their songs, but it seems like there are much better ways of doing that, which don’t seem quite so tacky as unsolicited emails asking people to pay up to get included in a song.

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Comments on “The First Rule Of Product Placement In Songs: You Don't Talk About Product Placement In Songs”

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Curious George says:

I'd like to know

I’d like to know what is wrong with posting an unsolicited email.

What’s next, snail mail spam that I am not allowed to shread ?
Or maybe telephone spam I am not allowed to fast forward and delete. If you give me something, isn’t it mine to do with what ever I please ?

And lets not forget the guy that said going to the bathroom during a commercial is stealing TV.

Mark says:

My baloney has a first name...

Serious music is not supposed to have commercials in it. Ever since Milly Vanilly or Vanilly Ice we should know that when you listen to commercial radio even the songs are commercials. But they used to just be a commercial for themselves, played over and over through payola or creative licensing schemes. Soon J-Lo will be selling her perfume and 50¢ his cars while we play them on the juke box. But what could possibly be worse than hearing what were devoutly counter-culture anti-commercial bands like Led Zepilin and Black Sabbath or newer underground people like The Fall, Nick Drake, Santogold in car tire commercials or soft drink commercials? I really removes the feeling that just you and some of your friends know about them and they are yours, and puts them into the realm of Rancid and Limp Bizkit. I am a big fan of the free market but quit co-opting my favorite musicians!!! Underworld should not be background music on National Geographic!!!

Evan (profile) says:

Re: My baloney has a first name...

As much as I dislike Limp Bizkit, there is something good to be said about them-

As commercialized as they were in their heyday, they have always been anti-censorship, anti-RIAA, and all for the promotion of and sharing of free music.

When Napster first took hits from the RIAA and other organizations for facilitating P2P music sharing, Limp Bizkit was one of the first groups to hop on board the Napster train.

They help multiple free concerts in support of Napster, along with other acts.

Anyway, just pointing out that they aren’t all bad.

Also- your notion that “just you and some of your friends know about them and they are yours” screams of elitism.

I, too, listen to underground music, but I share it with everybody I know every chance I get.

If you are making music, isn’t exposure a good thing?

Michael (user link) says:

This goes back a bit

Getting a name drop in a major rap song has been a little business all its own for the past few years. But it’s a double-edged sword, as artists can be volatile and end up in the news for the wrong reasons.

In Africa, it is not uncommon for performers to write songs praising individuals that pay to be immortalised. It’s one way of getting some money out of the music business.

Is that where we are now in Europe and the US?

There has also been some spillover in the other direction: ads that became hits. The two best-known examples are “I’d Like to teach the Word to Sing” (Coke) and “I Pull my Blue Jeans On”, sung By David Dundas (I can’t remember the brand!).

Twinrova says:

Re: Re: Rebuttal?

I know it’s not a rebuttal. You sure don’t waste any time taking down people’s remarks to suit your interest, do you?

Regardless, we don’t need to hash this aspect, so let’s stay on point.

Where’s the harm? People are spending money to buy entertainment, not commercials. Most times, people won’t even know the product placement is there until after the song has been purchased. Sure, you can argue that most people buy a song after they’ve heard it, but let’s go further.

Imagine someone saying “Dude, this song rocks! Okay, they talk about Adidas, but no matter. I’ll buy their album because the other songs aren’t like this.” They buy the album, and what do you know, the rest are like this.

The consumer is out of the money they’ve spent for a disc full of ads. One can even argue subliminal messaging here, but an entirely different conversation.

As a consumer, I’m getting tired of buying ads. I’m tired of DVDs that won’t let me skip past previews of movies that I’m not interested in (imagine, now 5 years later, I still can’t fast forward). I’m tired of the media forcing my hand at what I can, and cannot do, with the content I’ve purchased.

I’ve read blogs which you’ve written that states advertisers and artists are now “working together”. Yippee. Just what I want, more damn ads.

I know you feel content and ads are the same thing, but when there are TWO DISTINCT notions, they are no longer the same.

A few years ago, there was an interesting article about consumers’ toleration for advertising. It was shocking to see the majority agreed product placement was much less irritating than a commercial break and would be more open to it.

I’m guessing someone found this article because this is what’s happening now.

Funny, because much of the response to last season’s Knight Rider movie and Smallville’s Stride episode proves that too much placement makes consumers feel angry.

Of course, NBC chose to ignore the remarks from its fans on their very own blog pointing out the UNREALISTIC nature of the show when the other car company logos were missing.

I don’t make this stuff up. It’s out there.

And Mike, while you may feel content and ads are the same thing, you’re going to witness the backlash of consumers when they feel they don’t have a choice to block it out, regardless if it’s “disguised” as content.

Doing it with ONE song may be okay. Doing it with ALL songs is going to cause problems, and advertisers don’t know when to stop.

SteveD says:

Re: Re: Re: Rebuttal?

“People are spending money to buy entertainment”

You lost me round here. Isn’t half the problem that a lot of people aren’t spending money on entertainment any more?

But the point you’re conveniently avoiding is that people don’t have to buy a song, or listen to a song if they don’t like it.

If turns out its a business model that doesn’t work, well…it won’t work.

Besides, there’s lots of media that has advertisement in it that you pay for. When I watched I Robot at the cinema I paid £6 for a half hour of adverts before a 2hr film, stuffed full of product placement for Audi, Adidas, Fedex…a bunch of subscription-based MMO’s include adverts when they’re subscriber numbers drop off so they can maintain the quality of new content for the remainder instead of jacking up the subscription fee.

Twinrova says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Rebuttal?

“You lost me round here. Isn’t half the problem that a lot of people aren’t spending money on entertainment any more?”
Maybe it has to do with the ads? Believe it or not, there are still a few of us who do pay for things.

“But the point you’re conveniently avoiding is that people don’t have to buy a song, or listen to a song if they don’t like it.”
Actually, this isn’t true. Songs in movies, commercials, TV shows, etc. It’s getting to a point where it’s impossible to avoid it. That’s the advertiser’s sole purpose, regardless if people don’t like it.

“half hour of adverts before a 2hr film”
BIG difference here because the ads are before the movie, not during, which is what this blog is pointing towards.

Imagine, now if you spent 6 quid on a movie that was nothing but those very ads you just watched? Having an Audi in the movie is one thing, but purposely filming a movie around the Audi is quite another, and that’s where “content” is heading.

Anonymous Coward says:

“This Note’s For You”

Don’t want no cash
Don’t need no money
Ain’t got no stash
This note’s for you.

Ain’t singin’ for Pepsi
Ain’t singin’ for Coke
I don’t sing for nobody
Makes me look like a joke
This note’s for you.

Ain’t singin’ for Miller
Don’t sing for Bud
I won’t sing for politicians
Ain’t singin’ for Spuds
This note’s for you.

Don’t need no cash
Don’t want no money
Ain’t got no stash
This note’s for you.

I’ve got the real thing
I got the real thing, baby
I got the real thing
Yeah, alright.

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