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


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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


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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