Wednesday, February 16

It's A Quarter After One ...

.... I'm a Little Drunk and I Need You Now.

Although it's the dead of winter, February is home to some of the biggest pop culture moments of the year. The Super Bowl, The Grammy Awards, and soon The Oscars. Sports, Music, Film, Fashion ... it's an American buffet!

If you watched the Grammy Awards this past Sunday then you witnessed the music industry at its finest, covering every generation from Barbra Streisand and Bob Dylan to Justin Bieber and Cee Lo.

Don't know if you've ever thought about it this way, but music is a lot like marketing. Now you might be scratching your head at that one, but bear with me.

When really well crafted music resonates with its audience, it's often because it contains a true insight that people identify with. So they sing along ... and watch the video ... and download the tune ... maybe even go to a concert. They incorporate it into their lives.

Most music, popular music anyway, has a human (consumer) insight carefully woven into the lyrics. I've always been fascinated by the lyrics of music because I like to see the story that's being told. Which is always why I am most interested in the Grammy "Song of the Year" Award - it's for the lyrics, for the story telling.

This year the winner was "Need You Now" from Antebellum. A huge country hit that crossed over to the other charts and won its way into millions of our hearts. If you listen to the lyrics, you will hear a very basic human need, a true consumer insight that the song writers taped into to tell their story.

You've recently broken up with someone, or had a falling out with a friend. You're handling it pretty well, telling yourself that you will get through it. But you have a couple of drinks, your defenses are down, and you realize that you still have feelings. You still need that person, haven't truly gotten over it yet. You need to reach out to that person, you need some time with them.

We've all been there, done that. Mix that story with a soothing melody and nice vocals and you've got a winner. A song that catches on and becomes a part of our culture, at least for its own window of time.

Much the same can be said of marketing and of advertising. We look to find an insight, we turn it into a story that we hope resonates. Our consuming public catches on and it becomes a moment with them, hopefully long enough to change behavior and spark sales.

Just look at the VW "The Force" commercial from the Super Bowl this year. Or the Eminem "Imported from Detroit" story that Chrysler told. Hmmm.

What's your experience? Jim.


  1. I think their win is more about appealing to the masses vs a niche audience which is actually contrary to target marketing. That said, they had a country appeal and a pop-appeal. So that would suggest a 'good' product that appeals to a number of target markets?

  2. Actually, I think it's an indication of a consumer insight that transcends musical genres and demographics. JIM

  3. It's very true. I would further say that consumers have a hard time articulating their feelings about relationships whether it is with another person or with a product. A lot of times you don't really know why you connect with someone or something but it suddenly happens and can be a magical experience. I find it interesting that the song of the year had such a basic message of "the desire to connect." This song will probably end up in a dozen commercials by the end of the year...

  4. So true - that will be fascinating to watch. Jim.