Advertising as Marketing

Hosted by

This is Celia Hirschman with On the Beat for KCRW.


Pomplamoose, the Bay area music duo, have done it again. Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte had already built a strong following around the country, making quirky music videos at home. Last year, they sold over 100,000 tracks out of their living room with only a little touring.



Now, car manufacturer Hyundai has joined their fan club. The car company created a series of TV advertisements with the band for the holidays. Shot in what looks to be their garage, decked out with holiday cheer, they perform classic Christmas songs in front of a bright new red Hyundai. Like all the Pomplamoose videos, these ads incorporate split screens to maintain the look and feel of a Pomplamoose "videosong." The rules for their "videosongs." are: What you see is what you hear – there's no lip-synching for instruments or voice. And there are no hidden sounds, so if you hear it, at some point, you'll see it. That means that you'll see Jack playing drums, cymbal, bells, toy piano, xylophone and organ while Nataly plays guitar and sings.

It's unpretentious indie rock fun. A nice match up for the Hyundai consumer audience.

And another band seeing significant benefit from TV advertising is the Rolling Stones. Their classic song, "Gimme Shelter" is featured in the massive ad campaign for the Activision game Call of Duty – Black Ops.

The Stones asked for and were granted an early edit of the Activision commercial before it hit the media. It's the first time the gaming company allowed a third party to view and comment on their advertising.

How did the track do? It seems like a hit all the way around. "Gimme Shelter" jumped from 2,000 track sales in the first week to 11,000 in the second. The Stones had another track in the game: "Sympathy for the Devil." That track sold 5,000 copies within the first week of the game's release.

But these small successes pale in comparison to the money made for the gaming company. In the first week of sales, Call of Duty – Black Ops earned over $650 million.

Musicians are just going to have to be satisfied in today's market with a strong media campaign to help build their other revenue streams. The idea that a musician must live on record sales alone is impossible, outdated and fundamentally flawed.

What is interesting to me, however, is how both bands have earned a sense of control over the product advertising they were involved with.

Maybe this is the beginning of a new kind of creative lateral integration, where recording artists and advertisers plan their visibility together. If so, the future of the music business just might be Madison Avenue.

This is Celia Hirschman with On the Beat for KCRW.