The art of balancing art with commerce is a bitch. If you don’t believe there is an art to it just ask any defensive advertising guru. The artistic pretension makes them sleep better at night. If these endorsements do work, not only do you get your brand associated with the cool factor of the artists involved, you also open yourself up to potential dollars from a new group of consumers. Unless you’re hawking Metamucil or Viagra, advertisers will forever be aiming for those much-coveted adolescent and teenage demographics. After all they are able to get their parents to shell out cash at their whim.
When you’re a kid it’s all well and good to see your heroes pushing artificially flavoured treats and novelties. Your sense of self-righteousness at the sight of such gross consumerism isn’t formed until later years. When done right though these commercial tie-ins can be damn right convincing, especially if you’re an impressionable young’n.
The ties between music stars and products dates back to the 1950s when country music stars had entire shows sponsored by washing detergent and oatmeal companies. In the swinging 60s, before the hippie revolution, Coca-Cola had every artist imaginable singing their carbonated praises. Once hip-hop truly nestled itself into American culture in the mid-1980s it opened up a whole new goldmine for advertisers. From McDonald’s employing rapping chicken nuggets to Miller Lite using comedian Joe Piscopo (doing an impression of The Fat Boys) to sell their piss-weak beer it has been tried.
So we celebrate the good, the bad and the blatant in our countdown of advertising’s best and worst music tie-ins. Did we miss an ad? Let us know!