Thursday, November 20, 2008

Selling your soul

The best advertising is a good product. But not really, not if no one knows about it. I think the best brands are ones that speak to me in a way that doesn't yell "Our widgets are the BEST!" but put forth a positive ideal. I don't currently own a pair of Nike shoes but their "Just Do It" campaign is durable and great. Check out this ad out. (so much great stuff in there, from Derek Redmond, the cheetahs and runners to the Winged Victory of Samothrace[also known as "the nike"])

Now the cynical part of me wants to reject inspiring ads and thinks, "they just want me to feel better and associate that with there brand." but once in a while I am willing to suspend my cynicism, if for a few moments.

I love this dream of an ad . But I like it even more now that I have read this purported letter from an engineer at Honda.(For double your fun read the letter while listening to the ad.)

I don't believe in the super-consumer, especially since corporations can change from an idyllic brand that thinks big and has their arms wide open to a money hungry machine with a scarcity mentality. But I think some companies get it, at least for a while and I am willing to march a few of my dollars their way.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Smells like a Good Idea

So I went to a great and bizarre show last night. Of Montreal was in town and the seldom disappoint (Thanks Danny for the heads up). I have heard them probably four times now, each in different venues, and last night they played in the new/old venue The Murray Theater (Guy, get a real website, but still, this may be the best venue in Utah, make note)

I think I may be in love. The show didn't stop for one second and each song was accompanied with odd video visuals and live action vignettes performed by a crew of 4-7 performers that included scenes like an old-timey bar fight and golden aliens raising a shaving-cream covered Kevin Barnes from the dead. The show finished with a great cover of the Ramones (I forget the song) then Smells Like Teens Spirit (which made me wish I was a teen again).

But here is the Good Idea : The swag table had all the usual t-shirts, buttons and CD's. But they also had several cool objects (like lamps, wall stickers and 3D posters). Each purchase came with a digital download of the new "Skeletal Lamping Collection". And each object had a very Of Montreal signature style to it.

I always like to support artists and buy stuff at shows because more of your money goes to the artist than to the label (at least that's what I think), but the truth is I often have the record, or at least the songs that I want from that band (or I probably wouldn't go to that show). Of Montreal usually includes secret discs when you buy something at a show, but this is a one up on that idea. This unique idea lets you get a piece of creativity that you can pass on in a way that you can't do with an mp3 (Vinyl collectors often say that you can't pass down an mp3 collection to your kids). I love it. Polyvinyl records, and other labels have been doing it with Vinyl records for a while now (which I believe has helped the vinyl industry , but I don't have numbers), but I thought it was incredibly creative way of looking outside a normal marketing paradigm. Plus you get cool stuff. For the artist I don't think it was about marketing though (He gave away a melody to Outback steakhouse for a song).*

From the packaging of the wall stickers that I bought:

"The goal of the Skeletal Lamping Collection is to expand the perception of music packaging beyond the traditional flat, square artwork. ...
...Ideally every object you bring into your home should feel exceptional to you, otherwise it just adds to the clutter and chaos of your life. We feel, there's no reason to produce another object that just sits on a shelf. We only want to produce objects that have functionality and can be treasured for their singularity. "

Kudos to Of Montreal and thier label on this one. I hope others follow suit.

*Maybe this discussion should be another blog post on selling albums vs. selling out and what to do when an ad agency murders your song and you are legally obliged to not say a thing about it. But I am glad they played the original at the show. So good that it made me not want to go Outback tonight.