By the age of 13, I had, with mutual disinterest, tamely kissed quite a
few girls. And then, one magical evening, I learned the quantum
difference a tongue can make - so this was sexual excitement! The record
player was ironically pounding out Satisfaction and ever since then I
have only had to hear its opening chords to be able to replay that
glorious scene in my head.
Music has effectively become the indexing system for my memory library.
I have a song for every occasion - losing my virginity (I Got You Babe,
and I did), first love, found love and so on.
But, increasingly, advertising is crapping in the card index.
Satisfaction is now as much about Snickers as my sexual awakening and I
Got You Babe is a banking karaoke rather than a joyous celebration.
Is there any wonder that pop music is in intensive care? People invest
vast amounts of emotional equity in the music they buy, and all too
often these emotions are greedily sold for a song, as it were.
It’s such an easy solution, isn’t it? Message not clear enough? Never
mind, bung in a song with halfway relevant lyrics. So, Start me up
becomes the perfect vehicle for a computer program (I guess Boot me up
didn’t have quite the same ring). Alright Now, an original good-times
classic, is sadly indelibly associated with gormless American chewing
chic. And who can forgive the deodorant that plundered Don’t Stand so
Close to me or Asda for closing down Fairground Attraction with It Asda
It has to stop before nothing is sacred - Feed the World (Do They Know
It’s Christmas?) for Mrs Peek’s Christmas Puddings, anyone? And stopping
it may involve opting out of the easy solution.
It may involve only plundering from the greats if we treat the music and
its emotional equity with the respect it deserves. (A tall order, but
one that Levi’s manages to obey again and again.)
Or it might even mean thinking about something called ‘original music’,
something the industry used to be good at before pop started eating
Think big - this could be your chance to create your own musical equity.
And that will probably do more in the long term for the brands you
advertise than any amount of furtive craps in my memory.
Got something you’d like to rant about? 400 words, please, to Stefano