Tuesday, March 29, 2005

i'm brandin' it

one of my favorite duran duran duran songs has always been "pilldriver", which starts out with a ridiculous sample from a mcdonald's commercial: holla! mcdonald's big n tasty burger is a dolla! i was very glad to find that track on the new duran duran duran cd released by cock rock disco.

but future producers looking for samples with both hip-hop and mcdonald's flavor will have it easy. mcdonald's has begun a new marketing initiative to get product placement for big macs:

McDonald's has partnered with the marketing firm Maven Strategies in a plan to recruit hip-hop artists to mention the fast food chain's signature burger for pay, according to Advertising Age magazine's Web site.

The goal is to have a handful of songs flogging Big Macs on the air by summer, and Maven — which has reportedly had discussions with a number of artists, labels and producers — has already received an unidentified number of songs that are candidates for the promotion.

McDonald's will get final approval on the lyrics — which only need to mention the sandwich, not the parent company — but they'll have no involvement in writing the rhymes.

i know there's a school of thought in the hip-hop community that selling out is okay, or even to be encouraged... i recall seeing ice t on some movie or tv show saying that the idea of saying "no" to a paying job offer was alien to him, coming as he did from a life of poverty where legitimate paying work is near-non-existent. but how can any mc think this won't hurt their street cred?

i'm reminded of the destiny's child lyric: if your status ain't hood, i ain't checkin' for him. better be street if you're lookin' at me. which is supremely ironic, since not only is no group in all of hip-hop/r&b less street than destiny's child, but because destiny's child have officially signed on (sold out) as mcdonald's spokeswomen. i mean, i'll happily admit that i'm crazy in love with beyonce, but let's get serious, girlfriend. any guy who was truly "street" would not be able to get past your security entourage to get within 100 yards of you.

as soon as i saw this story i started thinking of busta's "pass the courvoisier", and i wasn't alone:

Product placement in hip-hop songs is not new: Busta Rhymes' management company famously reaped financial benefits for his hit song "Pass the Courvoisier" (see "Push The Courvoisier: Are Rappers Paid For Product Placement?"), and Kanye West's Grammy-winning The College Dropout plugged no less than 19 different brands.

Maven is one of the pioneers of this kind of embedded product placement. Last year, according to Ad Age, it scored placement for Seagram's gin in songs by artists including West, Twista and Petey Pablo. In Pablo's "Freek-A-Leek," one of the most played hip-hop songs of 2004, the rapper proclaims, "Now I got to give a shout-out to Seagram's Gin/ 'Cause I'm drinkin' it and they payin' me for it."

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