Product Placement in Music Videos

Has anyone ever noticed how some music videos seem more like commercials? For example, in Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire” music video, he spends half the time in a Mini Cooper and the other half riding a Vespa. The video features Bruno Mars who rides in the Mini Cooper with Travie while they sing and smile driving down a sunny California highway with the top down. Later Travie gives this vehicle to a delighted stranger who is seen throughout the video wearing a Dakine backpack while searching for a ride. Another example is Ke$ha’s music video for “We R Who We R”. The music video includes various shots of Ke$ha and her glamourous friends drinking from a distinct blue bottle of Revolucion tequila. The video also features a shot of Ke$ha’s pink and black Baby-G watch (I do not know about you but I do not think I have worn a Baby-G watch since about the third grade). The most obvious promotion in the music video was for a dating website called PlentyofFish.com, the video shows Ke$ha scrolling though profiles of potentials in multiple shots which the web address prominently displayed at the top.

Another way that artists promote products is to include them in the very lyrics of the song. Many rap artists include Patron tequila in their songs. Is this because Patron is an easy word to rhyme or are the rappers actually endorsing the product? Some artists actually have the name of the product in the chorus! For example, Patron is featured in the chorus of “My Drink n’ My 2 Step” by American hip hop artist Cassidy. Hip hop singer and rapper Lil Mama clearly promotes MAC and L’Oreal cosmetics in her song (and music video) “Lip Gloss”.

Personally, I think some of these product placements are tasteless and tacky. It is very obvious to me that the artist is trying to sell something to the viewers and I find it to be annoying. I understand that the artists needs to raise money to create these music videos and it would be okay if artists could be more subtle with the promotion. I would even compromise and say that Katy Perry’s endorsement of the Nokia phone in her music video for the song “Roar” was tolerable. Product placement just tends to get out of hand and ruin the potential for the musician to create an interesting artistic music video. An example of product endorsement going too far is Lady GaGa’s nine-minute music video for her song “Telephone” featuring Beyoncé. In the comments below try to name all the products featured in the music video.

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4 thoughts on “Product Placement in Music Videos

  1. I am not against product placement in music videos. The music videos that tend to have product placements are pop videos. They do not have a deep message they are trying to convey. At this point, it has not interfered with my viewing experience. Sometimes I even think it’s fun to see how the products get worked into the video. My favorite incorporation of products is in Miley Cyrus’ video, We Can’t Stop. The music video is wacky and I think the dre beats and eos lip balm fit right in.

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  2. It is a bit over the top to put product placement into videos. But, it’s an easy way for artists to make more money and in some cases it can be kind of funny.

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  3. Product placement is sometimes done so poorly I often wonder how it gets past post-production. Watching shows on the CW, which is not of the highest theatrical caliber, I have seen some of the absolute worst product placement. Like you said, it can be so tacky and distracting, they must try harder to be more subtle.

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  4. This brings me back to cartoons and old TV shows where ACME was the only brand that was every displayed. I think there is a fine line between realism and promotion, but unfortunately, there is too much money to be made by advocating for a particular product or brand for actors and musicians to stop now.

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