Er, did anyone notice the Chrysler Sebring in the video for Rebecca Black’s zit-pop anthem, “Friday”?

Neither did I until some totally misinformed marketing pundits starting writing how this “product placement” was going to “bring Chrysler in front of a market that never existed for them before”.

What market? Kids who are probably not even allowed to drive?

As for Chrysler, it has distanced itself from the video, song and singer- wrong song, wrong singer, wrong video, wrong market and certainly no “product placement”.

“Product placement” is yet a new/old term parroted by artists and bands looking for ways to get their product promoted or marketed and get some dosh for their troubles.

But this is easier said and done unless this “product placement” is part of an overall plan and which was so transparently apparent, first in “Back To The Future”- lotsa Pepsi, Reebok and “Calvin Klein”-  and horribly evident in the equally horrible  “Sex In The City” parts one and deux and where there were almost ten-second close-ups on the brands of mobile phones, brands of computers  and brands of handbags.


Product placement, sponsorship, sync deals, they arr all not as easy to come one’s way as some bands, especially, think. There has to be give-and-take on both sides and a “need to fit” in with the marketing objectives and the creative strategies of brands.

Though it’s easy to bandy around cute phrases like “Bands and brands”, these hardly amount to squat as very few do their homework- brand managers and “bands”.  Brand managers can act like pundits and pontificate about what “their” brands do in the area of music, but few ever mention how many flops they have had.

Yet, for decades, it’s always been beer and music, soft drinks and music, mobile phones and music, fashion and music and, often, the music or acts chosen have been so wrong and so “corporate” that they have not connected with consumers.

In fact, more often than not, the choice of music and acts and personalities by brand managers have been more of a turn-off than anything else. It hasn’t been HOT. 

Somewhere along the way, subjectivity also comes into play along with brand managers having a complete dullard’s knowledge of music.

It’s like a brand manager the other day telling me that the new song for his brand “must be a hit” and which is like being in a recording studio and having an ad agency producer tell a singer to “sing it more punchy”.

At the same time, there are the acts who feel “entitled” to be sponsored and with a frequent rallying call being, “Mate, can you get us Intel as a sponsor?” or, “Dude, can you speak o your friend at Samsung as they are now endorsing OK GO!”

Asked why this brands should be interested, the answer is almost always along the lines of, “Well, they are promoting creativity and we are creative.” Yes, and so are millions of other bands and what exactly is your USP and how seamlessly do YOU fit in with THEIR current marketing campaign?

Of course, they have not seen any Intel campaign or any campaign by the other sponsors THEY want to get on board THEIR runaway train. If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny.

“Bands and brands” or whatever one wishes to call it- advertising, promotion, marketing- is not so much an art but a calculated and intelligent guess mixed with great gut feeling.

Forget “research companies”. Many of these can take you down the proverbial garden path and with only weeds for company.

For these marriages to work, there is a need for some “homework” and open communications between all parties to see how much FURTHER an idea or promotion or, most importantly, a PARTNERSHIP can be taken- and not all these one-trick ponies latching onto flavours of the day for no other reason that they are, well, flavours of the day.

As for “Friday”, Rebecca Black and Chrysler, Ark Music Factory seem to be crafty marketers. Was this car the only one they could hire for the shoot, or was this part of a marketing plan to be them on board as a sponsor and one which never left the parking lot?

Or, perhaps, I give the music label, or whatever they are, way too much credit.

They, too might just be dullards and with “Friday” being a total fluke which will never be repeated.

Disney they ain’t and from this piece of “late, breaking news”, all is NOT well with Miss Black and Ark Music Factory.

It was a matter of time before everyone became greedy and started singing, “Gimme Gimme Gimme” and wanting a part of the “Friday” pie.

But this “partnership” between the singer, the artist’s mother- of course- and Ark Music Factory has imploded sooner than expected.

Perhaps we should all be relieved to hear this.


  1. SasPepper says:

    I don’t have cable so this weekend I rented the 1st season (6 Episodes) of Mad Men on dvd, mainly because you have been raving about it. Wow, what a great period drama; I am totally hooked. The decor, the artwork, the attitudes completely capture that time period, late 50′s, early 60′s.
    But the thing that stands out is the smoking; everybody lights up anyplace, anytime. And it’s so true; my Mom and Dad smoked all day, in the house, at work, in the car. it’s a miracle I’m still here. Remember when all the major sporting events and entertainment events were sponsored by cigarettes? Remember when everyone smoked at bars and restaurants and concerts? Someone ought to do a study to discover if the demise of the music industry is directly related to the demise of the tobacco industry. (jk, sort of)

    • We-Enhance says:

      For sure. Cigarette brands wee the major sponsors of tours, even CDs etc.

      Out in Asia, Marlboro had a lock on music sponsorship. Then the brands of beer and alcohol got into the game.

      As for “Mad Men”, how brilliant, is it????? The characters are sooooo real and typical of many ad people I worked with decades later.

      Sadly, like the music industry, the ad industry has changed and what you have today are also more gremlins and dullards.

      Finally, January Jones…Man, I can just watch her pout for an hour and be happy!

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