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Sunday, December 27, 2020

love and money
In the video for her latest hit, “Bad Romance”, Lady GaGa has upped the ante for pop-music product placement:

Lady GaGa is so beyond any kind of embarrassment that she’s made mercantilism its own aesthetic. In her previous video for “LoveGame,” a street tough swigs from a bottle of Campari as he watches Lady rut and grind (Campari, for when your evening plans call for rough sex on the subway). In the video for mega-hit “Poker Face,” the card table is emblazoned with the logo for Bwin.com. She quaffs Neuro sports drink in the “Paparazzi” video; sports a Baby G watch in “Eh Eh (Nothing I Can Say)”; and wears Beat headphones by Dr. Dre (including a version of her own design) in at least a couple of videos.

All was prelude, however, to the “Bad Romance” video, which features placements for no less than 10 products: a black iPod; Philippe Starck Parrot wireless speakers; Nemiroff vodka; GaGa-designed Heartbeats earphones (via Dr. Dre); Carrera sunglasses; Nintendo Wii handsets; Hewlett-Packard Envy computers; a Burberry coat; those crazy, hobbling Alexander McQueen hyper-heels; and enough La Perla lingerie to choke an ox.

This isn’t a music video so much as the QVC Channel you can dance to.

Of course, rap music has been in the for-sale lyric-dropping business for years, so Lady G isn’t blazing any trails here. Except perhaps in breaking down the double-standard that such music commercializing deals have carried: Urban acts get a pass for the seeming sell-out, while traditional pop/rock artists get a harder time over sullying the fabric of their songs with overt pay-for-play elements.

And yet, there is a subtle distinction with Lady GaGa: All the “Bad Romance” product placements are visuals, inserted into the music video. None of that exists in the song itself — the lyrics are generic enough, lacking any name-brand mentions. So if you don’t catch the video, and instead just hear the song on the radio or on your iPod, you aren’t aware of the overt selling job.

Does this mean it’s more acceptable for mainstream artists to sell advertising space within certain zones — the videos, concert sponsorships, etc. — as long as they keep the songs, i.e. the core products, “pure”? From a segmenting perspective, is there more value in exposing ad messaging to video viewers than to track listeners? Is there still a double-standard at play after all?

Lots to think about. I’ll do just that while I’m listening to the “Bad Romance (Chew Fu H1N1 Fix)” remix for the 31st time. Should be easy without all the in-video ads to dazzle my eyes.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 12/27/2009 10:40am
Category: Advert./Mktg., Celebrity, Pop Culture
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