Monday, February 13

The Grammy Awards 2012

If the Grammy Awards are a brand, then last night was a milestone in its brand life cycle.  While many call for innovations in these award programs, most of them pretty much stay the same.  Last night's production was among the best I have ever seen, with twists and turns that kept its "consumers" engaged the entire night.

LLCool J spoke about Grammy moments - those from the past and those that were to be created that night.  Such a simple concept.  I can remember many a Grammy moment through my life and there were indeed quite a few last night.

The performances were creative (some more so than others and some a bit over the top) with a wide range to appeal to a broad audience that would include my mother and my daughter and me too.

I was there to hear the music, to hear about Whitney Houston, and to observe the marketing.  In fact I held another Twitter party (#GrammyExp) for a bunch of us to compare thoughts and comments about the marketing, the advertising, the fashion, and yes also the celebs.  We had a blast!

P&G was in full force during the E! Red Carpet coverage with brands Cover Girl, Olay, and Venus all sponsoring the "Glam Cam" - 360 photography of the women's dresses.  Quite honestly we were not really paying attention to the fashion, we were more interested in hearing the industry's reaction to the sudden death of Whitney.  There were some breakouts, though, including Rhiannon's "collaboration" with Armani which they co-designed -- simply stunning.

The big marketing event for me during the ceremony was Chipolte's campaign "Back to the Start."  SuperBowl worthy if you ask me - long format film making that sets the bar in advertising.  Huge departure for fast food marketing, showing how they have resisted the temptation to go mass-processed and instead are staying close to farm fresh.  Very cute and well done, completely engaging, with a thorough brand message about local and organic.  Key ingredients to the Chipolte brand.  At first I was shocked because I thought Chipolte was owned by McDonald's (the other end of the spectrum), but my #GrammyExp mates pointed out to me that the brand spun off.  Good for them.  I am all for eating "real" food!

Adele was the big brand winner in music, sweeping all the categories in which she was nominated.  Unique for sure, and hopefully the coverage will give her brand longevity as well.

The Grammy moment I was waiting for, the tribute to Whitney, finally came as they acknowledged all of the great artists in music lost over the last year.  Whitney was of course the last, at which point Jennifer Hudson's silhouette appears as we hear the acapella part of "I Will Always Love You."  I felt a mix of chills and worry - how on earth is this girl going to pull off THIS song at this moment in time.

She nailed it - and cemented her brand in history at the same time.

The night was just as LLCool J promised - filled with Grammy moments.  Made even more fun by my peeps on #GrammyExp.  The Grammy brand just evolved itself in my eyes.  Can't wait for next year.

I leave this post with my own thank you to Whitney Houston.  As many have said, her music is part of the soundtrack of my life.  "The Greatest Love of All" got me through my very first job with Carnation in Boston.  "One Moment in Time" came just as I was graduating with my MBA.  But it was "Step by Step" that got me through a particularly rough patch in my life.  Thank you, Whitney.

What's your experience?  Jim.


  1. Well, I did write about 4 paragraphs but somehow it did not post but in a shorter version, I just wanted to say that the J-Hud tribute was GREAT. She didn't over sing the song. It was nothing short of perfect.

    Chipotle was great. Be it that it was already an emotional night, the simplicity and the Back to Basics theme touched home for me. I am always about taking it back to the beginning and working it from there. This just so happen that it is heather and will taste better to do so.

    As a Newark, NJ native, I am hurt by this tragedy. I, not only grew up with her music but had a chance to be a part of the audience, twice, as she came to our school to speak to us about dreams. I will be in Newark this weekend paying my respects. <3

  2. Maria Eugenia Diez TargiseFebruary 14, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    To me the 54th Grammys Award was the best I’ve seen.
    I am still touched by the Whitney’s tribute by Jennifer Hudson. I agree that this event made an inflexion point in Jennifer as a brand. He won’t forget her performance that night. It was absolutely breathtaking.
    I also agree that ‘Back to the Start’ Chipotle’s campaign was really smart. They knew exactly how to catch the attention of the minds and the hearts of the public by placing the ad in this full of emotions event.
    I would like to point out as well the Google’s advertisment. A father talking about a real issue in his life make us listen. And then, Google solving the problem with the auto saving of the pictures. I think was simply and belivable.

  3. The Grammys Awards kept me somewhat engaged, but found that it became more of Whitney Houston with her untimely death. I missed the Chipotle’s campaign. I was touched by Jennifer Hudson’s tribute to Whitney, but it was Adele’s performance that I loved. She’s an amazing artist, with great talent, and most importantly an amazing voice. She came back and she proved that talent out ranks the crazy costumes. I agree that Adele was the big brand winner in music. On a related note I wonder how she/her brand will be affected with her action of her giving the middle finger at the Brit Awards after host interrupted her acceptance speech, which according to her follow up statement it was not intended for her fans for the marketing executives keeping an eye on the clock.

    Maria Alvarez

  4. I thought it was interesting how they had a lot of duets with one older singer and one younger singer. Maybe they were trying to appeal to a larger demographic? Or maybe they were trying to tap into the nostalgia trend? I thought it was nice- and way better than some of the more "current" pop performances...