Latest Jimi Hendrix experience now available in a children's book

By Robert Klara on Thu Dec 9 2010


The name Jimi Hendrix makes you think of a lot of things: Woodstock, tie-dye, his iconoclastic rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner"—and, of course, that neat little trick with the lighter fluid at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, when Hendrix burned up a perfectly nice Stratocaster. But one thing the legendary guitarist will probably not remind you of is ... a children's book.
  But why not? Just in time for the holiday shopping season, author Gary Golio has produced Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow, a 32-page kids' book that evokes the life of the young Hendrix back in 1956, when he was poor, living in a Seattle boarding house and trying to recreate a world "colored with sounds" (and on a ukulele, no less).
  Yeah, we know. A psychedelic rocker who died of a drug overdose is probably not on the A-list for some parents hoping to inspire their progeny. But Golio told NPR that the young Hendrix's story "reflects all the values we want to teach our children," such as persistence and having goals. Meanwhile, the book reflects one of marketing's most durable truisms: Celebs really never die; they just keep selling.

Apple heralds Beatles' arrival in iTunes with 3 new commercials

By Todd Wasserman on Mon Nov 22 2010

In case you've been under a rock (with a Sony Walkman, no doubt), you are probably aware that Apple Inc. and Apple Corps have struck a deal to finally bring the Beatles' music to iTunes. Apparently, Apple is eager to reach the under-a-rock demo, because the company and TBWA\Media Arts Lab have rolled out three new TV spots announcing the Fab Four's entry into Apple's digital jukebox. The ads are pretty much what you'd expect: shots of the Beatles, with their songs playing in the background. (The spots use songs by John, Paul and George. Alas, Ringo is the odd man out again.) The images will no doubt evoke nostalgia, not only for the going-on-half-a-century-ago 1960s, but for the wall-to-wall ads for The Beatles: Rock Band that hit last fall as well. Two more spots after the jump.

Continue reading "Apple heralds Beatles' arrival in iTunes with 3 new commercials" »

Hip-hop band stops traffic in L.A. with ill-advised guerrilla stunt

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Oct 13 2010

Don't we all just love a good guerrilla marketing stunt? Not if it plays out on a chaotic Los Angeles freeway, where a band called Imperial Stars, whom no one's ever heard of, decided to stop traffic—literally—on Tuesday. The obscure hip-hop trio parked a truck sideways on the 101 in Hollywood, climbed onto the roof and started performing a ditty called "Traffic Jam 101" while cars stacked up and tempers flared. What, no one appreciated a free show? Did they miss the lyrical irony? I'm only surprised commuters didn't take matters into their own hands. Instead, it was California Highway Patrol officers who dragged the morons down, arrested them and had their trucked towed off the highway. (Someone connected to the "hard-core" Orange County hip-hoppers had apparently taken the keys, so the vehicle was immobile). And for their next number? Road kill!

Have Justin Bieber ardently spruce up your fingers and your toes

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Oct 11 2010


Do you love Justin Bieber from the top of your head to the tips of your toes? (If you answered yes, and you're not a 12-year-old girl, please seek help.) The merchandising machine that is Team Bieber has already clothed and accessorized millions of fans' body parts with charm bracelets, T-shirts, hoodies, necklaces and hats. Now, it's on to the all-important mani-pedi. The YouTube pop sensation has "designed" a line of nail polish with Nicole by OPI that will go on sale exclusively at Walmart in December. (Stocking stuffer alert!) An expanded line will hit Ulta and Target in February, just in time for Bieber's 3-D concert movie/big-screen "acting" debut. The product's called One Less Lonely Girl, after the Canadian moppet's hit song, and will feature shades like "Step 2 the Beat of My Heart," which is metallic blue with girly glitter. So, don't wonder why members of Bieber Nation will be a little woozier than usual in a few months. They'll be high on hormones and acetate fumes.

Toyota Scion, Adult Swim team up to blast you with speed metal

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Sep 21 2010


Toyota's Scion wants to make your ears bleed. If you don't believe me, go here and download 16 free tracks of "rare or unreleased" speed metal courtesy of the car brand and young-male-targeted cable comedy block Adult Swim. You can also watch a music video from Skeletonwitch in which fluffy creatures get ripped limb from limb (that part's fake, but the zombies are pretty convincing) and get video footage of Scion Rock Fest 2009 and 2010, along with more metal-related goodies. The collection, dubbed "Metal Swim," is a promotion from Scion's Audio/Visual record label, which might get you too keyed up to sleep if you listen to it for very long. That dovetails nicely into the up-all-night Adult Swim animation. It's a partnership made in metal heaven.

Joss Stone and Nine West bring you some more retail-tainment

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Aug 30 2010


We're living in the era of retail-tainment, where we've come to expect live music at the Apple Store, mountaineering discussions at REI and product demos at Bed Bath & Beyond. Not surprisingly, well-known talent is stepping into this area because it's a welcoming and unique environment in which to plug one's latest project. Marketers, who benefit greatly from the star power, are only too willing to make this all happen. (Sarah McLachlan recently played a live show in a JetBlue terminal; no word on how many fans watched the concert instead of catching their flights.) Now, soul singer Joss Stone is hitting the Nine West flagship store in midtown Manhattan on Sept. 10 for a live performance. She'll also be at the Macy's on 34th Street in Herald Square that day to chat with fans and sign copies of her new CD. It's part of Fashion's Night Out, an annual charity event in New York, and Stone's promotion of a co-branded line she designed for Nine West. (She even wrote a song about it!) Stone's Vintage America collection includes shoes, clothing, jewelry and other accessories. Everyone involved hopes that grooving while you shop will boost the bottom line. You have to admit, it's catchy.

Detroit's Victorious Secrets named FreeCreditScore's new band

By David Kiefaber on Thu Aug 12 2010

As Experian's becomes, the company decided to pick a new band for its ads, too. But don't worry, the new guys are just as annoying as the old guys were. Detroit pop-rock outfit the Victorious Secrets, who attended the Be Sharps school of band naming, were voted the new FreeCreditScore house band after an online contest. Company spokesman Chris Moloney thinks the new group will catch on, boldly asserting that "America will embrace them just as the voters have." If they don't, it won't be for lack of effort. The Secrets will star in a $10-15 million ad campaign, with a series of TV spots from The Martin Agency (like this one posted here) set to debut during the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. I can see the wisdom in strapping a new band to a new marketing effort for a new site, and as much as I may pick on the Victorious Secrets, their music is harmless and tuneful enough to appeal to a broad spectrum of viewers. Plus, musicians have to eat and pay rent, too. So as far as literal rebrandings go, no one can accuse Experian of doing things by halves.

JetBlue gets groove back with Sarah McLachlan concert at JFK

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Jul 22 2010


It's a summer of discontent for the live-music business, with major acts shortening their tours or canceling appearances altogether while consumers balk at pricey tickets. But here's one show that won't strain a fan's pocketbook. Sarah McLachlan is playing for free next week at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport as part of JetBlue's ongoing entertain-the-travelers program. (The catch is you have to be flying the discount airline through its T5 terminal at JFK next Thursday or win tickets through Facebook.) McLachlan has a new record out, Laws of Illusion, and her Lilith Fair festival to promote, so the added exposure couldn't hurt. (Lilith Fair canceled 10 of its planned tour dates because of poor ticket sales.) JetBlue will also hype the singer/songwriter across its marketing channels, including in-flight entertainment and social media. The concert program, via Superfly Marketing Group, started last summer with a dozen emerging bands playing T5. Expect more of these kinds of partnerships, with hip marketers latching onto musical artists for entertainment in unexpected places, and performers looking for credible (preferably media-worthy) ways to be heard.

Fox's first 'Glee' licensed product is logical one: a karaoke game

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Jul 21 2010


You might not be able to belt out an '80s pop tune like Glee's Rachel Berry, but you can sure try. (And don't feel bad—Berry is really musical theater actress Lea Michele, who cut her teeth on Broadway. So, she knows her way around a Queen ditty or two.) Unleashing its first round of licensed merchandise from the hit show this fall, Fox has partnered with Konami Digital Entertainment for Karaoke Revolution Glee for the Wii. Here's the first peek at images from the game, which lets fans sing 35 songs from the musical dramedy's first season alongside the so-dweeby-they're-cool characters. Prediction: If it captures the fun and aspiration of the show, this product will crush. Time to dust off your Journey repertoire.

Converse kicks out the jams for summer. Shame about the song

By David Kiefaber on Tue Jul 20 2010

Converse sneakers are like Faygo soda—they're cheaper than a lot of their competitors, they come in all sorts of crazy colors, and they do horrible things to your body past a certain age. But since Chuck Taylors have become the official shoe of teenagers, Converse's marketing has shifted to appeal to them. Case in point is this music video for Kid Cudi's "All Summer," which mentions Chucks in the lyrics and has a laid-back vibe common to summertime radio jams until the rockier chorus kicks in. Sure, it's a boring song (worth the price at, where you can download it for free), and the video looks like Carnival relocated to Greenwich Village. But Converse has used music to reach out to teenage buyers before. I still have one of their All-Star CD compilations around my apartment somewhere. The tracklist was full of industry misfires like MxPx and Monster Magnet, so Converse's taste has always run towards fads. But its chief priority isn't nurturing musical genius, it's selling shoes, so that's understandable. I just wonder how long it's going to take before they attach themselves to a good song, is all. They should take a hint from Vans, which got the Circle Jerks and, unofficially, the Suicide Machines to literally sing their praises.



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