Category Archives: Marketing

Commercial Music

I’ve found some really great musical gems from TV Commercials lately. Either I’m watching too much TV or the creators are not your father’s Mad Men. Here’s a few of my recent favorites:

Powerful Stuff, Sean Hayes – Subaru

Love, Matt White – McDonald’s McRib

Say Hey (I Love You), Michael Franti & Speerhead – Corona

Hey Soul Sister, Train – Samsung 3D TV

Morning Sun, Shayna Zaid & The Catch – Ford Edge

So, does putting interesting and/or appealing music really sell more product? I say it doesn’t hurt and it prohibits me from turning the channel when I hear it come on…so it is certainly creating awareness for these advertisers. And in the advertising business, that is key. Plus, it gives exposure to new artists that might not ever be “discovered”.


Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Emerging Artists, Marketing, soundtracks, TV


Another Example of Legacy

While I adored David Ryan Harris’ tribute, this one I’m a little skeptical on.

  I’ll Be There, State Farm Commercial

Watching TV last night, this commercial came on and I immediately thought about the inappropriateness of State Farm resurrecting this ad.  The description of the video says:

Since this ad first aired May 20, the songs lyrics have helped make a strong emotional connection with people. This Jackson Five song is just one example of Michael Jacksons impact and legacy as a pop culture icon. Our condolences to the Michael Jackson family and fans.


That’s convenient, but I don’t recall seeing this ad more that once or twice in the last month or so, so I don’t think it was as compelling as State Farm likes to make out.  Nothing had made them look good in recent months where they have increased the hurricane deductibles to 5% of total coverage and have flat out stopped coverage for some areas.

But I digress…

I could be totally off base, but I think that this is using the hype of this superstar’s death to hawk your product.  The commercial did not have a “tribute” to MJ attached or a condolence, it simply was a commercial using a highly identifiable Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 song to get the viewers attention.  All about taking advantage of the moment, ignoring the respect and dignity of the person.  Unfortunately, it’s the dark side of legacy.


Posted by on June 27, 2009 in Marketing, rant, TV, Uncategorized


Super Bowl Ad Review

I anticipate the Super Bowl each year, mostly to see what creative ads Madison Avenue will come up with.  It’s evident that there has been budget cuts and lay-offs as, on the whole, the Super Bowl ads, um…lacked.

My favorite of the night was actually NBC’s promo for their Monday night line-up.

  Feelin’ Alright

I was mildly entertained by the Potato Head/Bridgestone ad:

….and Pepsi’s Forever Young ad…

  Bob Dylan =  Really?

I have to admit that this generation’s William Shatner, Alec Baldwin is scrumptuous in this Hulu ad:

  TV Only Softens the Brain

However, job worries and satisfaction seemed to have been the ones that hit home the hardest this year:

  Bud Light Budget

  Crystal Ball

  If You Hate Going to Work

  The Other End

The Miller High Life delivery guys sums up the whole ridiculous Super Bowl advertising thing…


Posted by on February 2, 2009 in Marketing, TV, work


Tags: , ,

The Angel of Grace

I heart Somebody.

Knowing of my aff-FECK-shun for Angel from Montgomery (explained here), as well as my Grace Potter fondness, he sent me a most righteous link to an older Grace performance of the Southern Woman’s Anthem.

Click here for Grace’s Angel

First, this version was nearly three years ago and done with Assembly of Dust in an obvious “small venue”, a/k/a Dive.  Those of you who know me, know that I LOVE THIS down & dirty, in your face, whiskey-tinged, no holds barred, live and ALIVE music.

In contrast to the great sorrowful version of Susan Tedeschi, Grace’s version is plucky, funky and borderline fun.  Although she’s gotten better and better concerning sound and performance, this shows her underlying passion for the music she’s singing and her obvious talent at the kun-NECK-shun with the audience.

A little Lagnaippe find from this performance is Assembly of Dust.  Here’s a little background on who they are:

And here’s a very nice cover of Champagne Supernova done at XM Studios:

Can I just go on record as saying this is what I love about the Internets?…The sharing of thoughts on music and recognizing that certain songs or certain artists are friends’ favorites and giving them a head’s up. 

Word of mouth and “recommendation marketing” are truly the most powerful forms of promotion and product acceptance.

Thanks, Somebody.


Posted by on August 13, 2008 in Grace Potter, Marketing


Tags: ,

iPhone Revisited

A little over a year ago, I published a post entitled, Catalyst of Change, regarding the newly introduced iPhone and the anticipated impact the exclusive AT&T/Apple would have on the wireless market and technology, as a whole.

This week, I picked up a USA Today newspaper while traveling on business and the Money section had a substantial article on AT&T’s relatively new CEO, Randall Stephenson

USA Today

Stephenson is pictured with Apple’s new iPhone 3G and the article by Leslie Cauley explains that the affordable $199 pricetag on the new sensation is his brainchild.  Now, consider this…analysts estimate that AT&T is paying about $300 per device, so they are basically taking a $100 loss on each “unit” sold.  However, the “Unlimited” plan, which most subscribers sign up for goes for $129.99 per month, so AT&T recovers their “loss” in the first month, with an upside of nearly $3,000 per user over the 24 month contract.  AT&T has estimated that it has doubled it’s 3G users in the past year (from 8% to 18%, with substantial potential), so there has been tremendous movement to higher priced plans that are more than paying for infrastructure and any subsidies on equipment.

While I still think that the iPhone has forever changed the landscape of the cellular phone industry despite no previous experience in that arena, the initial hype has not proved to deliver the goods.  AT&T indicates that is has sold more than 2 million original iPhones in the last year.  While this figure makes the iPhone the best-selling by a country mile, it’s far short of the Goldman Sach’s prediction of 14 million sold by the end of 2008 through the exclusive AT&T channel.  Also, 1.4 million (or 70%) of those were sold in the first 90 days of release.  That means that while AT&T averaged over 450,000 units per month for the first 90 days, that number drops dramatically to an average per month of 65,000 for the remaining 9 months.

Now, perhaps many consumers were waiting on the next generation of iPhone as it has been reported that first weekend sales of the iPhone 3G doubled the initial launch (estimated 500,000, compared to an estimated 270,000 for the original iPhone).  I personally know four people who stood in line.  No doubt, the $199 vs. the $599 price tag helped.  However, Apple has once again created a “must have” in the marketplace.  Stephenson was astute enough to realize that if he drops the price point for a time and provides more “evangelists” out there, demand may actually increase instead of falling off as the original device did.   Either way, Apple needs to keep the innovations coming. 

Stephenson also announced that Apple and AT&T have extended their “exclusivity” agreement through the year 2010, replacing the deal originally struck between AT&T and Apple that gave Apple a cut of the iPhone service revenue.   Not only does this exclusivity hurt other wireless providers in the present tense, it forces them to spend development dollars on 3G and 4G capabilities when they can’t even provide the premier Smart Phone product, on their network.  Sure, there are/will be other 3G and 4G handsets, but let’s face it…Apple has set the standard, particularly at the low $199 price point set by AT&T.  That’s comparable to the cost of my BlackBerry, that has tons less functionality.  And, just think if Apple and AT&T agree to extend the exclusivity past 2010?

AT&T self-proclaims that it is “all about wireless”.  I take this to mean that traditional land-line telephones will continue to be replaced by Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and wireless technologies.  I can envision the day when each person will have one universal phone number that can be accessed via computer, Smart Phone and even, TV.  And, speaking of those innovations….it appears that Steve Jobs and Apple have that well in hand….

Apple Patent for Broadcasting via iPod/iPhone

Perhaps finally, we’ll come into the 21st century.


Posted by on August 4, 2008 in apple, iPhone, ipod, Marketing, technology


Deja Vu All Over Again?

So, I get my YouTube-Fu on this morning looking of an obscure Van Morrison performance to usher in the weekend, and I find this:

I was immediately harkened back to Artist Voices from GoFish. As far as I can tell, Taylor Hicks was the first and the last artist “in a series”. Now, while I have been critical of Taylor’s lack of inventive promotion (or just promotion, period), I thought this was a fantastic move. Evidently, YouTube did too, as they now are doing virtually the same thing with The Rolling Stones. No doubt, other artists are soon to follow. Just goes to show you what CAPITAL does for a company. While GoFish struggles through the independent landscape, YouTube is run by the Google folks. And, we all know that those guys are “doers”.

Too bad Taylor couldn’t hitch his wagon to the YouTube star, but I have to give him (or somebody) kudos for trying. Sadly, however, there were so many missed opportunities and “coulda beens” for Taylor Hicks. Point is, talk is cheap. You gotta DO it.

Very few brilliant ideas or marketing strategies ever come to fruition because they are never IMPLEMENTED. YouTube believes in “git ‘er done” and it pays HUGE dividends. Literally.

The Stones taking fan questions on YouTube will be huge and it will also assist in promoting the new Martin Scorcese flick of The Stones at the Beacon, Shine A Light, debuting today. Think The Last Waltz. Filmed in late ’06 at New York’s famed Beacon Theatre, the film gives a never-before-seen look at The Stones both on and off stage, in ways that only Scorcese can convey.

While I think that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards could possibly be the two ugliest men alive, THIS is promotion folks. On the day that the film opens, they utilize one of the best promotion tools (YouTube) to advertise their music and movie while “hooking” the fans in via interaction. Word of mouth will be crazy among Stoners.

And, Scorcese? All I can say his vision continues. If you go into the Shine A Light sight that I linked to above, they cover all the bases. Preview video to entice you, iTunes and Amazon links to buy the Soundtrack, Get A Widget to help you promote them (for free), downloadable screen savers from the very high quality IMax film, and tons more. A virtual plethora of Stones propaganda for the hard cores.

This is the dream, folks. It’s not limited, however, to The Rolling Stones and Martin Scorcese. They just happened to be smart enough to seize a good idea and actually DO it right. While I’m not a Stones fan, I may just attend this movie out of principle….to award a job well done.


Posted by on April 4, 2008 in Marketing, music biz, YouTube


Better than Free?

So, possibly the biggest announcement in music in decades….

On Monday, the British band, Radiohead, announced that since they have broken away from their label — EMI — they are offering their new CD for download and get this….YOU DECIDE HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO PAY.


Of course, you can elect to pay only 1p (one penny sterling), but there is a 45p credit card processing charge. Therefore, the tracks are, in effect 45p which is still half the price of iTunes. The band is likely going to make as much, or more, than they made with the label. I’m hoping that someone is going to report on what the average price paid really is. I’m going to bet that it ends up being close to, or in excess of, the iTunes track price of 99 cents. It’s reciprocity. Radiohead is offering something revolutionary and the music public will pay them back by BUYING their music (for a reasonable price). In fact, I’m guessing that they will sell a lot more music than they’ve ever sold…and to folks who’ve never purchased their music.

The announcement, this morning, produced overwhelming volume that temporarily halted their site. The telltale quote from the article:

James Bates, media and entertainment director at Deloitte, said: “Radiohead are clearly trying to build an independent business model that suits their needs. Unless record company giants wake up and find a model that delivers real value to artists, technology will continue to be used to bypass the record companies, and in comparison piracy will seem a relatively small problem.”

Ko-RECK. While this has been done by more obscure “indie” artists, never has a band as popular as Radiohead defied the music bosses to this magnitude. This will be interesting to watch. How will “the biz” try to retaliate? What will they do to try to stem the tide of change?

Of course, you die hards who still require the physical CD can shell out the 45 pounds for the box set with fancy books and liner notes. They will, no doubt, sell plenty of these — from their own website, as well — to their core fan base while the everyday fan and casual listener will gladly pay the 45p per track. Affordable music for the masses…those who might never have given Radiohead a listen. New fans. More dollars per track and CD sold. Sounds like a win/win, to me.

A new paradigm in music sales on the horizon? Most definitely.

Here is the beautiful link to Radiohead’s In Rainbows.


Posted by on October 1, 2007 in Marketing, music, music biz


Fins to the Left


Ok. We’ve mentioned Jimmy Buffett and his “successfulness”, but what exactly do we mean?

First, let me preface by saying that I live in Mobile, Alabama (yes, by choice). I grew up in Southwest Louisiana (a/k/a God’s Country), but Mr. D and me have decided to live out our days a little bit up the Gulf Coast in Lower Alabama. I say this because although Jimmy Buffett was born in Pascagoula (20 miles up the road from Mobile), he was raised in Mobile. Matter of fact, Jimmy attended the same grade school and high school as Mini DD (GEAUX JACKETS!!). The 5 ft. 5 in. whirlwind was even a well-known male cheerleader at said Catholic high school.

Jimmy Buffett is a veritable legend all along the Gulf Coast, but particularly in South Alabama. It’s a cryin’ shame that he hasn’t played the Gulf Coast in about 10 years even though he is part owner with his sister, Lucy, of Lulu’s at the Homeport, down in Gulf Shores (a/k/a home of Taylor AI parties during AI Season 5). However, I think it’s mainly due to the fact that Biloxi or Pensacola or Mobile doesn’t have a venue large enough to make it worth his while or hold all the Parrotheads.

Anywho, let’s take a look at Mr. Buffett and the 30-year overnight success he’s had. Jimmy has been around a LONG time. He started out in the early ’70s and had one nice “hit” in Come Monday.

Gotta love those early video attempts. Now, Come Monday came out in 1974 and it’s evident by the video that Jimmy was very young, so Jimmy was making a vid back in 1974? Now, THAT, is vision. I mean, MTV came out in 1980…but, I digress.

Ok, so Jimmy has a slight hit with Come Monday and then a slight hit with Margaritaville. Interestingly, the highest Margaritaville reached on the Billboard charts was #8, yet it’s likely played dozens of times per day, each day. It’s an anthem for the way we’d like it to be…a getaway from the hassles of life where all we have to worry about is “where’s the salt”.

Now, Jimmy is one smart cookie. He discovered that Margaritaville struck a nerve with people. That it was a universal anthem that everyone could relate to. He saw the unfettered fun that people of all “stripes” had at concerts and how they could “go on vacation” at his concerts. So, Parrotheads were born. In an attempt to create a following like the Dead Heads of the Grateful Dead, where concerts are an event — a destination and party of their own, Buffett ended up with one of the largest and most active fan bases in music history. Buffett sells the lifestyle of Margaritaville….casual laissez faire, no worries, party it up, escape for a while…and PARTICIPATE:

Over the last 20 years, Jimmy Buffett has become a multi-millionaire not from selling his music, but rather, from his ancillary endeavors. To the tune of about $100 million a year. In addition to 9 Margaritaville Cafes in places like Orlando, Key West, New Orleans, Turks & Caicos and over 40 Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurants in non-competing markets up North, Jimmy recently unveiled plans to build a $700 million Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi, MS complete with casino. One hour away, baby!!!

Jimmy Buffett’s website,, nicely integrates all of Jimmy’s business endeavors and prominently features one of Jimmy’s biggest money-makers — merchandise.

There’s adirondack chairs


ultimate “frozen concoction makers”,


footware, clothes, hats




….even his own beer (Land Shark Lager), liquor and food.


There’s Radio Margaritaville, highlighting Jimmy’s music and all things island, relaxation and supportive of “the getaway” life. Of course, the sight prominently provides tour dates and contests to win a trip to a Buffett concert, up to date news on Jimmy, his ventures, the tour, etc. through the Coconut Telegraph, and most importantly, a prominent Parrothead link — resplendid with “Parakeets”for the kiddies, Parrothead of the Week, picture uploads, and discussion boards. If that’s not enough, Jimmy self-produces all of his records under the MailBoat Records label and has written several best-selling books. Jimmy Buffett is truly the master of his own destiny. Notice that the “look” of all the various endeavors is consistent and easily identifiable with the “experience”/attitude of Margaritaville.

He has capitalized on his music and the desired lifestyle/attitude of a cross-section of Americans who have the money to spend and are looking for an “experience”. When asked how he created all that is Margaritaville, Jimmy gives one word: “Imagination”. Seems to me that Jimmy didn’t limit himself by the constraints or expectations of the music industry and by blatantly by-passing their “rules” and taking advantage of their ignoring him, he is having the last laugh and the lasting impact.

So, is Jimmy Buffett any less of a musical artist than others? Is his taking advantage of tie-in businesses being a “sell-out” or overly commercial? Is there an artist out there today who could do something like Jimmy has done? (I think you know my answers.)


Posted by on June 4, 2007 in Artists, Marketing


Come into my Web….


So, my new best friend, Bob Lefsetz, had some interesting thoughts in his blog about Management and Pricing in the music biz. I’ve been contemplating some of this for a while, but this — and our interesting “beauty” conversations — got me to really wondering why most musical artists just don’t “get it”.

I’ve been, what I consider, an early adopter of PC and internet technology as it evolved. However, before last year I generally used the web for news, stock tracking and tips and research for my “real job”. It is my belief that there are/were many folks with similiar “usage”. With the advent of high speed DSL, the proliferation of music sharing sites, and blogs for every topic and occasion, the web has evolved as a true entertainment source — particularly where music is concerned.

While we could spend considerable time talking about this topic, I’d like to focus on how an upcoming artist might take an unconventional, albeit successful, tack in making a successful music career. There’s powerful opportunity in the utilization of the internet to gain exposure, sell CDs, creat dialogue and market an artist. The music industry still has a powerful lock on most artists and the inertia of doing things as they’ve always been done have stifled the real use of the internet as a primary promotional strategy.

As Bob extolls, because of the powerful expense savings of using the internet, pricing for music tracks should be decreasing and creating an opportunity for additional purchases. In my mind, I think that a “new” artist (say Feist) could sustantially increase their awareness and “usage” with a solid Internet strategy. Bear with me, but here’s my Internet Marketing plan:

First, ONE, integrated website that includes an Artist blog updated once per week, Tour schedule with links to ticket sales and venues (including seating charts), photos, promotional videos, and PERHAPS a forum — but totally not a “must have”. Keep the site updated and changing each day, or at the least, two or three times per week.

There should be a concentrated effort by an Internet Channel Manager to research ALL fan sites, make contact with those webmasters and create an “advisory board” of sorts, that would provide a method to disseminate information on sales, tours, merchandise, damage control, etc. Create a two-way relationship that allows them to be a part of the process. Provide an artist interview to different fan sites at different times to keep them — and their readers — engaged.

Offer live performances from various concerts, to download for a cost — a la Widespread Panic. Provide a free on-line concert with promotion on various “friendly” blogs and fansites to create awareness. Optimally, use a site like AT&T’s Blue Room or the artist’s proprietary website.

Embrace bloggers — particularly those who are favorable to the artist. Offer preview mp3’s as exclusives. Create a “law of reciprocity” with these bloggers for favorable treatment with new releases, concert reviews, promotion, merchandise sales, etc.

I’m not opposed to a pay fansite for higher level of access, tickets, or content, but I don’t think a true artist needs to go down that road. In reality, if the artist is good — really good — and gets enough exposure, then they should be able to sell tracks and make a healthy living. If they market themselves right and don’t sell their soul to the devil that is big record labels who act as pimps, they can even get rich. Think of it this way — why can’t a talented artist or group develop and implement a successful targeted internet strategy, by-pass the record labels by providing their music via low cost mp3’s that are marketed through samples and live performance snippets, utilize dedicated fans and low-cost providers for graphics and promotion and provide music for a fraction of what the record companies charge? Just because it’s not been done, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Utilizing this kind of “out of the box” approach would be substantially less in expenses and allows the artist to be totally in control of their “message” and approach. Additionally, it allows the artist to be nimble enough to change strategies very quickly if something is or isn’t working.

I personally think that we’re at the precipice of change in the music industry concerning how artists are managed and promoted. Of course, it’s slow to change because there is beaucoup money to be lost by agents, promoters, record executives and such — you know, the ones who are getting 50-60% of the artists’ revenue. It really IS time for somebody to wake up and smell the coffee.

I know we’ve got some Marketing geniuses that read this blog….so, what are your thoughts regarding an effective internet strategy to promote a musical artist or group?

ETA: This is somewhat related but an aside….iTunes released iTunes Plus yesterday making hi-res mp3s available for $1.29. But is there a catch? Bob Lefsetz has two great posts on the subject, but warning: Bob is the Dave White of music blogging. Be sure to check out both posts.


Posted by on May 30, 2007 in Marketing, music biz


Video Convergence

Last weekend, NOLAGirl (resident FEMA trailer survivor and dinner companion extraordinairre) sent me one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

Will Ferrell’s The Landord

To date, lists the views of this video as 23,177,441. I personally know five other people who were emailed this video by totally different sources. If this number is correct, that is some significant “reach”. In this recent Chicago Tribune article, the proliferation of online video sharing is explored. Clearly, YouTube, GoFish, Dailymotion and others have provided an avenue for amateurs to create and post video. It’s also been a fertile breeding ground for the posting of great past musical performances, like this one:

Seven Spanish Angels – Ray Charles & Willie Nelson

But I digress. I was first exposed to YouTube and GoFish about a year ago when watching American Idol and various performances were “put up” (mostly on GoFish). I’ve watched over the last year as these sites have evolved, now including “channels”, advanced search functions, and “Artists Voices”. There are numerous blogs dedicated to YouTube “diving” (i.e.,, finding stellar videos to share with others — be it music, classic TV commercials, movie scenes, home videos or comedy. While the jury is still out on copyright infringement, these video sharing providers claim safe harbor under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, which limits liability of Web service providers whose USERS are in violation of copyright laws. And, YouTube is compliant with wishes to remove videos when an “owner” requests such. So, for now, it’s all good.

But I digress. What’s really starting to get interesting is the use of these vehicles by established, popular artists like Will Ferrell. Alanis Morisette has the biz a-buzzin’ about her parody of The Black-Eyed Peas’ My Humps. The ever-observant brc sent me an article by Patrick Goldstein of the L.A. Times that addresses the shear brilliance (intended or not) of Morisette’s video. Hailed as a commentary of the state of music and social ills today, this video was self-produced and with over 6.4 million views to date, has given Morisette more exposure than she’s had in years. I’ve seen it at three different sites, myself.

This is what gives YouTube its real power. It is a forum not just for amateur pranks but also for career reinvention. For Morissette, this video — made at her home on digital video for roughly $2,000 — may transform her persona as much as taking a part in “Pulp Fiction” did for John Travolta.

No doubt you’ve seen the vids, but just in case you haven’t, here they are:

My Humps, Black-Eyed Peas

My Humps, Alanis Morissette

And, to tie it all together:

My Humps, Will Ferrell

It’ll be interesting to see if more artists will go the self-production route and try to market their wares via these on-line web sharing outlets. It’s certainly much cheaper than the glitzy, Hollywood production music videos that have fallen out of favor. It also is a way to gain exposure to a diverse cross-section of demographics, who use and abuse YouTube and it’s competitors, present company excluded. With the challenge of artists to increase “reach” and exposure to the masses, are YouTube and it’s contemporaries a viable marketing strategy?

Your thoughts?

ETA: Found this article regarding YouTube on the Boogie Board, posted by sturgis66. Interesting that now YouTube will begin paying high traffic contributors. Hmmmm. Change any opinions? Maybe Shrew’s right?!? Nah.


Posted by on May 6, 2007 in Marketing