Lady Gaga sets an Advertising Benchmark
During an age of exponential technological growth it is becoming increasingly more difficult for marketers to reach their constituencies well. During the last decade new technologies in video production and content management changed the way consumers view information – Social networking technologies, search engine optimization, and the youtube effect have create some relative adversity for the Ad men and women of the 21st century. It wouldn’t be imprudent to think that, regardless of which media company we ease drop on, the consensus is to figure out innovative ways to reach consumers where they are. The old days of “build it and they will come” are long gone in the American consumer market.
The music industry has always been on the cutting edge of style and consumer habits. The musicians influence consumer trends Just as well, if not better than, any other type of celebrity. From Nancy Sinatra’s popularization of the “mini” dress in the 1960s to MC Hammer’s hip-hop version of harem pants in the 1980s, pop stars have always been a favorite of the fashion and stylist community to sell new trends regardless of their eccentricities or practicality. During the past thirty years of hip-hop’s emergence as a media genre powerhouse we’ve all witnessed some uncompensated boosting of brand ownership by pop stars. Surely product companies will agree that if they have had a brand publicized in a song, that it has been their balance sheets lucky day, but they typically don’t pay for it because of potential negative connotations aligned with pop-star behavior.
This past week we’ve witnessed yet another milestone. Lady Gaga and Beyonce released a joint effort on the Telephone music video premier, off of Lady Gaga’s sophomore album. I counted a total of six brands that were represented that have never been known to be branded directly at an audience in a music video previously with a special emphasis on Diet Coke, Kraft products, Hostess Brands, and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Mobile. 50 Cent was one of the first recognized to get paid for his display of Pontiac G6 vehicle in his Amusement Park video, but it followed a long trend of displaying rented vehicles for a premium instead of a profit. I can’t confirm Lady Gaga’s profit versus cost for her latest video venture. Regardless of whether consumers agree with the use of the product placement, they noticed it. The video is impossible to look away from unless you are a minor with parents present. Kudos to Lady Gaga’s team for integrating untraditional brands into a video that will capture consumer’s attention on the Television and more importantly in the internet/mobile application marketing space. The only question that we need to ask ourselves is: Do we want to be marketed mayonnaise and prepaid mobile phones in music videos?