Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Supermodel covers Blondie in her bikini

There's nothing new about a model singing in accented monotone — Nico was the patron saint of that.

But Nico had the magic of the '60s New York City art scene behind her, as well as the music of the Velvet Underground, Jackson Browne, and other great collaborators.

Gisele Bundchen, on the other hand, has Auto-Tune and a weak arrangement of the classic new wave/disco crossover hit by French DJ Bob Sinclair:

Oh yeah, and it's an ad for swimwear. In case you missed it.

According to Ace Showbiz, the ad was given a premiere showing on Good Morning America yesterday.

The only good thing about it is that H&M is donating all royalties from the song's iTunes sales to UNICEF. If anyone buys it.

You could also buy this instead, and donate directly to UNICEF here:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

DDB puts more "ass" in "classical music"

The Belgian B Classic music festival let DDB do a number on a classic, Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 Allegro con fuoco, by having some young Japanese (correction: Korean) women dance provocatively throughout three minutes of it:

The YouTube description explains, "B-Classic presents The Classical Comeback: a new music video format that gives classical music the same recognition as pop and rock music by combining the timeless emotion of classical music with the visual talent of a contemporary director."

Talent... right, because viewers were as taken by the cinematography as they were with the music.

While using the sexualized aesthetic of a cheesy rap video to trick people into listening to a different genre of music is amusing in theory, the execution is just another chapter in our ongoing exploitation of women's sexuality to sell anything and everything.

Ironically, in this case, it probably won't sell any tickets unless the concerts feature exotic dancers beside the conductor.

Via Ads of The World

Thursday, January 16, 2014

California gubernatorial candidate's testicles endorsed by Cuban performer

That's probably the lowlight of this lengthy and bizarre campaign video, in which California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly tells voters he will put a gun in every household and scrap government regulations on business.

According to Think Progress, Mr. Donnelly is a Tea Party faithful who is a founder of anti-immigrant vigilante group, the Minuteman. However, his cunning plan to get Hispanic voters to forget about that includes having the size of his balls endorsed by Cuban-born Venezuelan singer and actress María Conchita Alonso — who is not his "sexy" wife.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bowie shills for fa-fa-fa-fa-fashion in epically pretentious Louis Vuitton ad

Nobody sells out like David Bowie sells out. The man appeared in his first ad before his career even took off. At the height of his art rocker cred in the '70s, he was writing music for TV ads. And then, of course, came the '80s. And finally, this.

As an elder statesman of Baby Boomer cool, Bowie is back on the shill train. This time, it's with a harpsichord remix of one of his new songs in an incredibly decadent ad for  Louis Vuitton:

Directed by Romain Gavras, and featuring model Arizona Muse, it's basically an ad for purses. Very expensive purses.

This version of "I'd Rather Be High" is one of the bonus tracks on a new, expanded release of Bowie's comeback album.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

McRib: More comebacks than The Who

McRib is back. Again. And McDonald's Canada is celebrating its return with a rock 'n' roll theme. On the McRib Comeback Tour page, there's a McRib song, merchandise, and other stuff.

It was obviously inspired by The Who's habit of repeated comebacks. The McRib, after all, was first introduced the year The Who first called it quits. Considering the remaining members of the who plan to retire "for real" in 2015, I wonder which act has more staying power?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Can this 1974 "Raped by Mick Jagger" ad be real?

It has to be a hoax. I truly hope so, anyway.

I just saw this posted in the Facebook group "1960's and 1970's Advertisements". From there I tracked it back to a post from last June in Anorak. The oldest post I found was on Flickr from 2008.

Does anyone have provenance on this? Claimed to be from a 1974 "rock magazine," it parodies a long-running campaign for Maidenform begun by the William Weintrob Advertising Agency in New York:

Via Blogspot
So, if you combine 1970s political incorrectness, the bad-boy image of the rock press, a cheap shot at consumerism, and a wink at the contemporary rumours about a Bowie-Jagger affair, would you end up with such an ad?

If you have any information about this, please comment below.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

BitTorrent guerilla campaign nipped by pro-copyright movement

Before (via BI)
After (via BI)
You've probably already seen pictures of the mystery billboards that popped up recently in New York and California, which were soon revealed as a "free the internet" campaign for BitTorrent, "a decentralized, artist-owned publishing platform: a zero-cost alternative for media distribution."

Some people took issue with BitTorrent's claim to be a "a secure, distributed response to the challenge of data surveillance: a way to sync and store information, free from the cloud". One of them was American musician David Lowery.

In a rant published on The Trichordist, Mr. Lowery — a self-described "Luddite Artist" — included "the IP addresses, ports  and some sample Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven songs being hosted and illegally torrented by 33 Bit Torrent users".
 This is using one of the vast number of tools available to snoop on Bit Torrent traffic–think the NSA doesn’t use this for jihadi communications???? 
And to the folks illegally sharing my music?   You might want to ask what other naughty stuff I can see on your computer? 
Seriously, if I could figure this out in 20 minutes how hard is it for the NSA? FBI? Local PD? Hacker? 
Apparently BitTorrent doesn’t even understand how it’s own product works. Luddites.
On Tuesday,, an anonymous organization claiming to represent pro-copyright artists, has placed spoof banner ads on, The Drudge Report, Mashable, FileHippo, GrooveShark, MediaFire and more:

Here's one on Rolling Stone:

It sounds like the copyright battle is coming soon to some ads near you.

(Thanks to an anonymous reader for the tip.)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

1972 Bowie review is a good reminder for all music critics

Via That Eric Alper

Every once in a while, I find it good to remind myself that every new movement in popular music provokes curmudgeonly dismissal. Jazz, country, early rock 'n' roll, funk, electronica, rap, dance... no matter how good an artist is, there's never a shortage of people who simply don't get it.

This news clipping from Memphis in 1972 is one of those reminders:

Via Guerrilla Monster Films
"David Bowie probably could be a talented musician. But his show is not selling music. He has substituted noise for music, freaky stage gimmicks for talent, and covers it all up with volume."
The live album recorded in California slightly later on that tour, long a favourite bootleg for Bowie fans, had its first "official" release in 2008. It has 4.5/5 stars on Allmusic. (Not to mention that the studio album he was touring ranks on almost everyone's all-time "top" lists.)

How many of today's musicians have been described in similar terms? And how will history judge them?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Remember what a big deal the 1987 "Revolution" Nike ad was?

[click to embiggen]

Buzzfeed reports that this complaint letter is framed at Nike headquarters. I remember when that ad came out, and it was actually a really big deal that an actual song by The Beatles had been "sold out" to sell shoes.

John Lennon had been dead for almost seven years at that point, and the publishing rights to most Beatles-era Lennon-McCartney songs had been purchased by Michael Jackson in 1985. In an unprecedented move, Wieden+Kennedy paid paid $250,000 to Michael Jackson and another $250,000 to Capitol Records which held the North American licensing rights to The Beatles’ recordings.

Apparently, Paul, George and Ringo were not happy about it. Through their record company, Apple, (which would later fight with Apple Computers) filed a lawsuit in July 1987. They named Nike, Wieden+Kennedy, and Capitol-EMI Records for $15 million in damages. It was settled out-of-court for an undisclosed sum.

Yoko Ono, however, approved of the song's commercial use, telling Time that the ad was "making John's music accessible to a new generation."

The real revolution — of advertisers using the borrowed interest of unaltered classic songs for campaigns — was unstoppable. It's now almost inconceivable to imagine a time when new and old hits were not repurposed as anthems for big brands. Even though it is pretty lazy creative, when you think about it.

And the letter? The imgr source cuts off the signature. But one thing I can say for sure, is that he or she was also a Monty Python fan.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Is Miley's ode to MDMA the best anti-drug PSA ever?

"Molly" is the powdered or crystal form of MDMA, a more potent form of ecstasy.

Effects include...

Increased feelings of intimacy:



Altered perceptions:

Positive basic mood:


Loss of thought or body control:


And thought disorder:

In other words, kids, "Just Say No".

Stills via Vice.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

David Bowie gets his new video banned by YouTube

Apparently, getting people to censor your work for offending religious sensibilities isn't just a young man's (or woman's) game. At the ripe old age of 66, David Bowie has managed another PR coup by having the latest video release from The Next Day get pulled by YouTube for an apparent violation of its Terms of Service.

Fortunately, Bowie's main video hub is on Vevo:

Sky News reports that the video, directed by Floria Sigismondi and featuring Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard, was yanked yesterday—the very day it was released.

Sky's description is as good as any:

It depicts Cotillard - the French actress who won an Oscar for her role in La Vie En Rose - as a dancing girl who bleeds from stigmata marks on her palms, while Bowie plays a Jesus-like figure in robes fronting his band in a seedy basement bar. 
Oldman plays a priest who dances with Cotillard. As she sinks to the floor bleeding from her hands, Oldman turns to Bowie - dressed in what appear to be sackcloth robes - shouting: "You see this? This is your doing - you call yourself a prophet?" 
Cotillard's wounds spray blood all over a topless, veiled woman before she rises again dressed in black with tears on her cheeks and bathed in light.
The video also includes a monk being flogged.

However, it has returned to YouTube with an age restriction and Vevo branding.

So far, the video "ban" has been covered by Sky, Yahoo!, The Independent, CBC, The Atlantic, etc., etc.

Most coverage assumes that the religious imagery is the cause of the ban. But I hope not. Showing priests, nuns, bishops and saints as grotesque parodies or sinners is an artistic tradition going back to the middle ages. And Bowie has been a "Leper Messiah" since 1972. You can't say there's not art to this.

YouTube apparently hasn't commented on the issue, but I'll bet it was one of two things:
1) They got so many user complaints that the video was "abuse" that they automatically took it down until it could be reviewed, and/or
2) It was the mostly-exposed breasts being sprayed with stigmata blood (which might explain the age restriction)

(They have since commented. Via Pitchfork:  Billboard reports that a YouTube spokesperson told them, "With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call. When it's brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it.") 

Nonetheless, this is just the latest in what has been one of the most impressive publicity campaigns for a comeback album that I have ever seen. First, David Bowie managed to record the entire album entirely in secret, releasing the first single as a video on the stroke of midnight on his 66th birthday. This generated massive interest for the album, which was not due to come out for two months. He then pre-released his second video single, a song of a very different genre, which seemingly paid homage to an internet meme that he and Tilda Swinton are the same person. The album cover caused gasps in the design world for being just a re-hash of the "Heroes" cover with a white square over the face. And the artist has avoided giving interviews, instead leaving the press access to his band, his producer, and even his wife's Twitter feed.

As a result, his official Facebook page says The Next Day is David Bowie's most popular album since Let's Dance.

And David Bowie is the most interesting and relavant he has been since the Seventies.

Bonus: Flavorwire attempts to deconstruct all the religious imagery

Radio Shack tries to sex-up its brand, fails

Radio Shack? Really?

The Wall Street Journal reports that the approach is moving product:
The ad, which has been out for about a week, has already gotten more than 600,000 hits on YouTube and the stores allegedly can’t keep the product in stock, according to a research note today from David Strasser, retail analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott.
“This shows a management team willing to take risk, and a desire to think outside the RadioShack box,” Mr. Strasser said of the new ad campaign. “It’s more like a beer commercial than a [consumer electronics] commercial, but that is what this company needs to attract certain target customer groups.”
Creatively, it's kind of sad. The ad is a direct lift from the original Robin Thicke (ft. T.I., Pharrell) video, "Blurred Lines":

This is borrowed interest taken to the extreme. The difference is, sexual objectification of women in music videos — ethics aside — is still a different thing than the same sexual exploitation perpetrated by a brand. One has a certain amount of artistic licence. The other is at the mercy of its customers, stockholders and partners. The lines between the music business and retail may be blurring, but there is still a difference when it comes to what they have to lose.

Radio Shack may be getting some renewed interest from this lazy marketing, but long-term they risk alienating customers. Including some who buy Beats by Dre.

AdFreak's David Gianatasio lays it out pretty succinctly:
Yes, the clip has quickly amassed 700,000 YouTube views. But RadioShack shouldn't get too excited about that, because I'm betting the numbers say more about the tune's smooth mojo and the sexy imagery on display than any renewed excitement about the retail brand. RadioShack comes off like an unhip, balding, middle-aged dude desperately trying to prove he's down with the kids—and failing badly. (Being unhip, balding and middle-aged myself, I should know!) The dying chain's desire for reinvention is understandable, but how tossing off quick-buzz pop-culture crap like this is supposed to help it survive over the long haul beats me.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Iggy Pop makes fun of his label problems to promote new Stooges album

There's a good reason there will unlikely ever be a definitive Iggy Pop box set. And that's because, in the course of an almost 45-year, defiant and rude recording career, he has been bounced from every major label — as well as several indies.

The Stooges were originally signed to Electra. After two albums, they were dropped. They reformed, with help from David Bowie, to sign to Columbia. That lasted one album. (But what an album!) They broke up again, and a few years later David Bowie swooped back in and got Iggy a deal with RCA. Two albums later, and Bowie-free, he signed to Arista. Which dropped him after three platters and left him with no other option than to sign with indie Animal Records.

Bowie came back into Iggy's life, and he signed with A&M. That lasted two albums. Then he was on Virgin for an amazing run of seven, until he got bumped down to their subsidiary, Astrawerx. Then he went to Thousand Mile Inc. for an odd collection of French crooning covers.

All of that to say that the man has seen his share of rock star decadence and decay. (And those are just the mainstream releases.) Now, as he turns 63, Iggy is about to release his long-awaited follow-up to Raw Power with the modern-day Iggy & The Stooges. On something called Fat Possum Records.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pussy Riot appropriated again, this time by Vanessa Hudgens

I've written before, both here and on Osocio, about the appropriation of anarcho-feminist group Pussy Riot's knitted balaclava brand. Here's the latest sighting, from former Disney star Vanessa Hudgens'  '$$$ex' Teaser Video (via Huffington Post):

They didn't even bother to change the colour from the Blush lingerie campaign:

By all accounts, the former child actress is trying to shed her innocent image in the new Spring Breakers movie. It's a complete reversal from her concern for her younger image when she had her nude photo scandal six years ago. But careers evolve. It's just too bad she had to "borrow" so shamelessly this time, from women who are currently suffering for standing up for their independence.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Canadian radio station offers "No Nickelback Guarantee"

Just saw this on the cover of today's Ottawa edition on Metro. Live 88.5 also promises to be "Katy Free" and "Kardashian Free", but the Nickelback hate is particularly poignant in their home country.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bowie sells Sony the best jingle it will ever have

For years, David Bowie has been making good use of his 1977 techno hit, "Sound and Vision" to promote his own retrospective products. But finally, a consumer technology company has realized it's probably the best jingle they could ever have:

The classic song is remixed into a haunting nostalgia by by Sonjay Prabhakar, as retro visuals show us how iconic Sony products have been part of people's lives for generations. (No idea why the '70s roller girl has a late-80s Walkman, but anyway...) It's all to position their new Xperia Z smartphone as "the best of Sony in a smartphone".

And no, I can't blame Bowie for selling out. He was "selling out" before I was even born.

Tip via Adrants

Monday, February 25, 2013

The David Bowie/Tilda Swinton meme comes alive in new video

The tildastardust Tumblr jokingly floated a theory that David Bowie and Tilda Swinton are the same person.
Via tildastardust
Now, David Bowie has released a new video in which he and Ms. Swinton star as aging lovers — and Iselin Steiro — looking like a younger Tilda — also appears as a "Thin White Duke" era Bowie. It's all so very confusing. Look for cameos by models Andrej Pejić and Saskia De Brauw as well. Just as in Bowies golden age of the early '70s, this is all about bending traditional gender portrayals.

Coincidence? Who knows... it's Bowie's world. We just live in it.

Pic and credits via Bowie's Facebook Page

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Coffee ad says it's "more black" than jazz performers

I noticed a colleague viewing this campaign on Ads of The World, and my first thought was "what gorgeous art direction!" Then I read the headline.

The wordplay on black things and "black" people is common in advertising. I even saw it used in a local campaign in Barbados, where Afro-Caribbean people are in the vast majority. Brazil is also a multicultural country, with many people of African origin. So I ask you, is my discomfort with this campaign simply a matter of white Canadian guilt?

For me, the ads are puzzling. It could be that there was something lost in translation. Are they saying that their coffee is "more black" than the jazz musicians they portray? Than the music they're playing? 

Blackness in coffee isn't just about not having cream or milk. It also refers to roast and brew strength. So their coffee is more intense?

I don't know. Some other cultures seem to be far more comfortable using a broad term for dark skin colour, culture and/or ancestral origin (whether code for "FUBU" or "other") as a throwaway ad gag. But for me it's bad enough labelling people, based on assumptions about "race," in casual conversation. I don't need brands reinforcing a bad habit.

Via Uproxx
Will we ever get over this shit?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

iTunes censors Nick Cave's new album cover

See that? It's the new Nick Cave album. It has a naked lady on it.

Here's how it appears on Apple's iTunes site and app:

That's right. Censored for your safety.

It's not the first time. When I bought Daniel Lanois' second solo album from iTunes, they used the "American" version of the cover with the famous Jan Saudek nude's nipples covered by lettering.

Oddly, however, if you go back and look for other famously banned/censored album covers, iTunes is not so prudish.

Here's Roxy Music:

Even last year's Bat For Lashes release gets to go au naturel:

Granted, the Blind Faith album with the topless adolescent girl is not even on iTunes, and Virgin Killer by The Scorpions uses the non-creepy version of the cover. But what the hell, Apple? Why are you so concerned about some examples of artsy nudity and not some others?

BONUS: This ad has been following me around the internets all day, mocking me:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, David Bowie, you glorious weirdo


David Bowie is 66 years old today. And, after almost a decade of reclusive retirement, he's throwing a surprise party for his fans.

Why am I writing about this on my advertising blog? Bowie has always been a keen self-marketer, and this is no exception. He played the gay angle masterfully to get publicity at a key point in his career, then continued to push music, fashion, media and technology throughout the 70s and early 80s. Then he had a slump, but re-emerged as a more mature and mellow musician comfortable with his past. And he kept doing neat things. I'm a huge fan.

He was an early music video pioneer, because he understood the importance of image in selling late-century pop. He would go on to blow people's minds with an image that threatened to overcome the artist. Many years later,  in 1996, according to his own site he was the first major act to officially release a song via internet download, "Telling Lies". (The new single is available on iTunes.) In 2004, he was on a roll, with a great new album, Reality, and a huge world tour. But then he suddenly succumbed to serious cardiovascular disease, requiring emergency heart surgery. The tour ended, and Bowie went into retirement. He started working on his back catalogue.

If there's one thing David Bowie excels at, it's getting people talking about him while remaining an unpredictable enigma. In 1973, he broke up his best band, the Spiders from Mars, on stage with zero notice (even to its members). The next year, he changed musical styles mid-tour, becoming a disco dude. Then it was on to German-style techno. Until his deliberate commercial sell-out with Let's Dance (and a couple of flaccid follow-ups) nobody knew what to expect next.

Now, he has suddenly emerged from several years of retirement with a brand new album and a song/video teaser. (Watch it here)

I just finished reading Neil Young's autobiography, and in it he laments how artists have no privacy to develop their ideas without them being leaked to and analyzed on social media. Bowie, who has never been a social presence outside his owned digital channels, somehow managed to record an entire album in absolute secrecy, shoot a video, and simply announce it to the world on his 66th birthday. It's a guarantee that he will dominate mainstream and social media for the day.

I have to admit, the first song is kind of a downer. And Bowie is finally starting to show his age. But the video is as weird-ass as you could hope for. And even the album cover — a minimalist recycle of the "Heroes" art from 1977 — is surprising. It almost looks like a joke.

The cover was designed by London graphic design studio Barnbrook. In his blog, Jonathan Barnbrook addresses its weirdness:
...we know it is only an album cover with a white square on it but often in design it can be a long journey to get at something quite simple which works and that simplicity can work on many levels – often the most simple ideas can be the most radical. We understand that many would have preferred a nice new picture of Bowie but we believed that would be far less interesting and not acknowledge many of the things we have tried to discuss by doing this design. Finally we would like to give David Bowie great credit, he simply did what he always does which is to go with a radical idea and that takes courage and intelligence. That is why we love his music and love working for him.
Although I'm not surprised Bowie has no plans to tour, I'm disappointed. The last time we saw him live, in 2004, my son was in the early stages of forming in his mom's womb. Now he's a fan, too. But this is David Bowie's show. We're just along for the ride.