I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch.

It turns out that there are now agencies that specialize in getting product placements into the lyrics of popular songs.  We know this because one such agency (The Kluger Agency, to be precise) sent a “cold call” email, promoting said services, to the Anti-Advertising Agency.  More about them in a second, but first and just in case you clicked that link: Kluger’s flash intro features product mentions like Cadillac, Vuitton, and Mercedes Benz in songs by artists including Mariah Carey, Pink, and Ludacris.  I want to know if Kluger was responsible for these particular lyrical product placements (which they call “brand-dropping”), or if they are simply capitalizing upon the fact that some artists may, without compensation from a company, use their brand name in lyrics and video images.

Back to the Anti-Advertising Agency: according to the Wired article, this is a kind of political-art collectivity that uses some of the tools of traditional advertising to interrupt the visual expanses usually occupied by advertising (e.g., billboards), in order to call into question the value/s of advertising in public space.  You can see their mission statement right here.  As part of a project organized for a display at the Sundance film festival, and somehow in conjunction with Eyebeam, Anti-Advertising Agency folks invented Double Happiness Jeans, which are made in a virtual sweatshop in Second Life.  Somehow, the virtual construction is translated into material objects (you know, jeans) that are actually sold.

So, to summarize: the Kluger Brand Droppers emailed an artistic collective engaged in parodying sweatshop production and advertising agencies and asked them if they wanted to pay thousands of dollars to get the Pussycat Dolls to mention Double Happiness Jeans in a forthcoming song.  This is all so profoundly amazing, I actually tried to fact check it all.  And, as far as I can tell, this has the Downy Fresh Scent (TM) of truth.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch.

  1. mwparker2

    wow, that’s incredible. i wish the Anti-Ad’ers had the extra piles of cash sitting around to actually buy the product placement.

  2. Jenn Lena

    Instead, they’re facing some crazy lawsuit from the Kluger people.

  3. Mike

    Pop musicians have been getting paid to mention brand names in their songs for quite some time – Kluger is simply trying to carve out a niche as the middleman in this process. At least 5 years ago I met someone at a party who worked for an alcoholic beverage mega-company and whose job was to secure pop music product placements. She assured me that there was a good chance Busta Rhymes didn’t even like Courvoisier. I think the thing is, many pop artists may want to make a song about getting f*cked up or buying sneakers, but they don’t feel so strongly about their brand of choice that they would object to be paid a hundred grand to mention whatever you want them to. All of this forces us (well… me at least) to think hard about artistic authenticity and what an “interest in disinterest” is actually worth to us as consumers. If it was widely acknowledged that movies were 2-hour advertisements my guess is kids at least would have no problem enjoying them as long as the product placements were interspersed with jokes, special effects and plot devices that move the story along.

  4. Johnny B Good

    That wired thing was clearly doesn’t have the “downy fresh scent” of truth all over it. KA is a BIG agency, do you really think they’d send out unsolicited emails? Looks to me like a marketing scheme by the Anti Advertising Agency whose alexa ranking skyrocketed as of late. If it was indeed a fake story written to promote the site that “hates promotion” that would explain why KA is suing.

  5. Jenn Lena

    Yes, I DO think Big Agencies send out unsolicited emails. In fact, I KNOW they do. I also know that the bigger and therefore more complex bureaucracies become, the more potential there is for slippage, so that actions taken on behalf of the firm can be dysfunctional for the firm (or the firm’s image, as I suppose you imply). Either way, I have two good rationales for my hypothesis, and I don’t see alternative reasoning or evidence in your response, so I’m left to stick with my original interpretation.

    It is, of course, possible that this is a “prank” by folks at the Anti-Advertising Agency, which is also fine with me. I don’t particularly care either way, nor does it effect the substance of my argument, here. The comment at the end of my post was, I think somewhat obviously, an aside.

  6. mwparker2

    The only burning question left for me: Was it so profoundly amazing that you will check out the new Pussycat Dolls album to see which jeans bought the spot?

  7. Jenn Lena

    HA! I love you, Mark…you crack me up. No, I didn’t check out the album–I think this all went down recently, so the target song may not yet exist. Hey…should I see how much money I have in my research funds…? Or, maybe this is what I should use the Sociology of Culture section funds surplus for…a little shout out to the sociologists? Ha!

  8. mwparker2

    Don’t cha wish your research was hot like mine?
    Don’t cha wish your question was unique like me?

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