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That’s Advertainment!

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In Lady Gaga’s new video for “Telephone” featuring Beyoncé, we witness the marketing power behind the pop-sensation

Watching the nine and a half-minute long video, viewers are exposed to no less than 8 branded goods throughout.

We first see Lady Gaga’s own Monster-sold Heartbeats headphones on a prisoner. Next, the viewer is clearly shown a Virgin Mobile phone brandished from her waistband (incidentally, Virgin Mobile sponsored her “Monster Ball” Tour), then in jail, we see several Diet Coke cans wrapped up in her hair as make-shift curlers (though the labels are obscured, making me wonder if Coke-a-Cola actually paid for that or not).  While being escorted out of prison by the prison guards, we get a glimpse of the dating website Plenty of Fish on a “Beats by Dre” branded laptop when she is picked-up from prison by Beyoncé in that awesome “Pussy Wagon” truck from Kill Bill: Vol. I, Beyoncé feeds her some kind of gas station brand packaged pastry, though I couldn’t figure out the brand of it to be honest. While in the car, Lady Gaga snaps pictures using a Polaroid camera (for whom she is their new Creative Director). In a kitchen scene, Lady Gaga, surrounded by dancers walks us through the process of making a sandwich using Miracle Whip and Wonder Bread (despite the fact that there appears to be perfectly good baguette available).

If there are any questions as to why Lady Gaga took the risk of potentially offending her audience with such obvious product placement, look no further than the decline of the recording industry as a whole.  Compounding the issue is that big music videos originally served as visual advertisements used to boost an artist’s own recordings sales, however, MTV doesn’t even play music videos anymore as their ad revenue was suffering due to viewers’ behavior of changing channels and not sitting long enough to consume commercials (for goodness sake, their top rated programming is about Jersey trash with fake tans/breasts and negative I.Q. levels).  Music industry revenue is down almost 30% over the past decade, with newer services that offer streaming music threatening further erosion.  Without the money to finance big budget music videos, the artists who want to create something special for the fans will need to seek alternative sources of funding.  It was a brilliant marketing move on the parts of all of the aforementioned brands to align themselves with someone like Lady Gaga: she is hip, controversial (but not too much so that she could interpreted as offensive), and a very talented artist.

It is difficult to tell if there will be any consumer backlash to the obvious product placement or if there will be any lift in sales of any of the featured products.  Personally, I just really want that Pussy Wagon truck now more than ever.


Written by southasianpersuasion

March 16, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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