We picked up on some interesting stats emerging about the impact of named brands in songs this week. Researchers in the US have picked through 793 songs from Billboard Magazine’s top 100 lists from 2005-2007 and discovered that 21.3% of them refer to alcohol brands, with a further quarter mentioning brands by name.
Some of the big names included Patrón Téquila, Grey Goose Vodka, Hennessy Cognac and Cristal Champagne. It’s not really a big surprise, as there has been a natural affiliation between rap artists and alcohol endorsements for well over a decade. However, there are two key points worth mentioning here: 1. It’s not a market restricted to just alcohol and rap, and 2. there are smarter ways to embed brands into music.
We interviewed a leading light involved with the subtle art of placing brands into songs last year, who was quick to dispel the notion that alcohol brands and rap artists were unique to this ongoing trend. “ Believe it or not, brand dropping is more common in pop music, if the public hasn’t yet recognised that, I’d say we’re doing a pretty good job”. He also referred to brand dropping as the ‘crème de la crème’ of integrating marketing, due to the fact that “placement in songs live forever”.
Now we're not arguing that product placement has its recognition values, but there are other more robust ways of embedding brands into music; fans are not as easily swayed by name dropping as they are by experiencing something first hand. For the brands that really want to embed themselves in music, they need to net an emotional placement at the heart of music - and that requires experiential activity; at the discovery level, in the mosh pit, onsite at festivals, amongst real people with real lives, building a direct rapport with fans on the ground.