Tag Archives: advertising

All For Who?

In our on-going efforts to track the nexus between Big Business and Bigger Business, we’ve discovered still another development. As you may recall, Jaguar had been using rock superslug Sting to promote its cars, demonstrating how the Jag can lull Sting to sweet dreams of rainforests or more song-writing gigs for cartoon movies.

But now we’ve learned that Jag is sponsoring Janet Jackson’s “All For You World Tour 2001.” Well, that may not be exactly right: there is a “partnership,” such that those considering the tour will see Jag in the tour title, advertising, promotion, publicity, and even the ducats. Undoubtedly looking something like a NASCAR race with a single sponsor, there will be X-Type display logos all around the venues.

Says Michelle Cervantez, vp of Marketing for Jaguar North America: “Jaguar’s relationship with Janet Jackson is a powerful statement of our intentions to become more accessible to a new generation of Jaguar owners.” Yep. All those people who buy tour T-shirts are undoubtedly going to make their way to dealers, post-haste.

In addition to all of the aforementioned signage and even a car at the venues, concert goers will be subjected to a “video” featuring Janet and a black X-Type. (I am not making this up.) Presumably said video is more commonly known as a “commercial.”

But this isn’t just any run-of-the-mill spot. It was produced by Spike Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. According to renown Knicks fan Mr. Lee, “Our partnership has assisted Jaguar in communicating to a more diverse audience. This project is a direct result of that strengthening relationship.” The “relationship” he is referring to is a “marketing partnership” between Jaguar North America and 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, which was established in April. Which presumably means that since Nike spots aren’t what they once were, Lee will be creating ads for Jag. (Ah, what about, oh, making movies?)

So let’s review. Sting. Everclear. Aerosmith. Janet. I’m throwing my vote in for GloNo partnering with some automaker. Any suggestions, Sab?

Just Push

Quick: What do you think of when you think about the Neon? Or the Stratus? Or the Caravan? Dakota or Durango?

Yes, I thought so. Aerosmith.

“Dodge and Aerosmith are a perfect match. Both represent the rebellious and youthful energy that great rock and roll bands and great car brands have come to represent. Who better to partner with a great American brand like Dodge than the greatest American rock band of all time, Aerosmith?” observed Jim Schroer, executive vp, Global Sales & Marketing, DaimlerChrysler Corp., while announcing that Dodge is sponsoring Aerosmith’s U.S. tour.

And listen to this: “We’ve been playing and touring for 30 years and have never had a corporate sponsor. But when Dodge asked if we would be interested, we thought it would be a great fit for a touring band like us. . .cars, truck [sic] and racing. It’s all rock and roll.” That’s guitarist Tom Hamilton.

Let’s see. . .”Greatest American rock band of all time”? Dodge as “rock and roll”?

But wait, as they say in the cheesy commercials, there’s more:

“We are America’s hometown band; the garage band that made it really big out there on the road. You can always count on Aerosmith to play your town. We paved the road, so to speak.” That’s Joe Perry, sounding more pathetic than Steven Tyler did while caterwauling “The Star Spangled Banner” prior to this year’s Indianapolis 500 in a manner that would have done Roseanne proud. “Garage band”?

These poor bastards need to take their medication and get some rest.

One more quote that will make you want to run over the collected works of Aerosmith with a loaded Dodge Ram pickup: “Trust me, this is just the very tip of the iceberg. We have plans in the works that will touch every element of the Dodge family—customers, dealers and employees. This alliance will re-define how two great brands can work together to support each other’s interests, while delivering what all our fans and customers desire.” That’s Julie Roehm, director, Dodge Marketing Communications.

So is that Dodge “fans” and Aerosmith “customers”?

Some will never get it

Check this out, the latest idiocy from a company long known for such: “Buick is introducing a new divisional tag line in upcoming television work that breaks this week for the Century. The line ‘It’s All Good’ closes the new spot and begins to appear in print advertising for all Buick brands.”

Yep, you read that right, the new Buick slogan is “It’s all good.” As Pat asked: What’s the dillyo? Was “It’s the shiznit” already taken? Do we get to look forward to cupholders sized just right for a 40? (Eazy, may his soul rest in peace, would be happy— no longer would he be freezin’ his balls.) But really, are we supposed to think that Buick and its HNIC Tiger (the whitest Black man on the planet) are down with the Hip Hop Nation? Will we see the new Buick “G” replace the venerable moniker “GS”?

Is this not the ultimate example of a corporation copping street ‘tude to hawk crap that has nothing to do with the true spirit of that which its marketing usurps? How could it get worse?

At least the fools who fall for Volkswagen’s mixes and are tooling around in new Jettas are driving decent cars.

VW: Very White

There’s an oddity sitting in my CD player right now. It’s a promotional CD from Volkswagen that they give you when you buy a new car. I snagged it out of a press evaluation car because I figured it might have some decent tunes on it, you know, stuff from their commercials: “Mr. Roboto” or that Da-Dah-Dah-Dah song. Or some cool mainstream techno like Daft Punk or Chemical Bros. Well, no dice; with the exception of a yet another cover of The Smiths’ “How Soon is Now” (soon to rival even “Yesterday” as the most covered song of all time), it pretty much sucks. But I’m not surprised, and that’s not what this piece is about because no one needs to read my explanation of why the Bare Naked Ladies blow. You already know that. (Unless, of course, you’re the type of person who discovered the bad club music of Submarine by buying a Passat, in which case you’re just pathetic and the point herein will be lost on you.)

(Okay, while I’m being parenthetical I’ve got to admit to liking that one Bare Naked Ladies song about the old apartment, but that’s just because I’m always a sucker for any song about heartache. Yeah, I know that makes me pathetic, but all anyone has to do is sing “I want her/him back” or “And I miss her/him/you/etc.” and I’m hooked. Call it Hank Williams syndrome. But, I digress.)

So my issue is not with the music on the CD sucking, as much as what the music on the CD reflects what VW thinks about its customers. Now I’m not naive enough to think that my local dealership is going to hook me up with the new Outkast disc or give me my choice between the International Submarine Band and P-Funk’s greatest hits. But a disc that’s entirely full of forgettable white pop toe tappers that one might hear on any corporate “alternative” radio station is unconscionable. Do the dumb fucks in Auburn Hills (VW of America, Hamlin Rd., 48326) really think that their customer base is as cookie-cutter homogenous as that? Or do they just really want the customer base to be that way? Is there not enough room on the sampler for a single hip-hop track or one pop-ified country crossover? What about a nice easy listening smooth jazz cut? I mean, the disc could still be as banal and inoffensive and awful, but at least try for a little more variety!

I’ve got no problem with VW’s cars. I’ve got no problem with VW’s advertising. But the marketing fool who put together this compilation for them needs to be kicked repeatedly.

I once owned an Oldsmobile, given to me by my grandmother appropriately enough. And with it came a sampler cassette (yes, this was pre-CD) that contained music that Olds, correctly, figured its customers might like to listen to. And it was good; this coming from someone who, at age 21, was a good 34 years too young to be part of the Olds demographic. Sure, I didn’t like all of the music on it, but there was enough variety (even some classical cuts—those being the ones that I used to fast forward through) to keep it interesting. And yes, it was lacking the heavy metal and the rap that I was into at the time, but I recall there was one catchy R&B song and a nice female country crooner whose name escapes me, but whose song did make it onto a few of my mix tapes from the era.

The point is that diversity is good. It spreads ideas and styles and creates understanding. And it might even help you sell a few more cars.