We started out on E! for the red carpet, where it was the year of product integrations up one side and down the other. In fact we could probably start calling it the "brand carpet." The spokespeople were on script, touting product features much more prominently that I've ever noticed it before. It's usually more subtle I have to say, but this year they put it right out there!
Many of the brand mentions were timed to an advertising spot as well, which then also kicked in the social media. The most deliberate came from Degree, AFLAC, Crest White Strips, Herbal Essences, and of course Cover Girl who utilized its spokesperson Katie Perry to the max. She actually put a shot of her makeup artists applying the Cover Girl mascara up on Instagram right before her red carpet appearance, right before the advertising spot ran...and then it ran over and over again throughout the night. The mascara may not have been running, but the branding certainly was!
Pharrell showed off his fashion collaboration with Adidas, strutting his stuff and staying on message on the red carpet.
And of course, who could forget Gwen Stefani and her contest/endorsement for MasterCard and their "priceless surprises."
Despite the heavy branding, It was feeling a little slow to tell you the truth, but then the show kicked in and so did the messaging...of a different kind.
For the Super Bowl, I had predicted that we'd see brands promoting unity, diversity, acceptance, and everyone taking care of each other. We actually never saw that at the big game, but it came shining through last night at the Grammy Awards.
Early and eventually frequent winner Sam Smith said it best when he accepted his speech...it wasn't until he became himself that he started making good music.
A befitting trio tackled the issue of domestic violence: President Obama, an actual victim, and Katie Perry...showing the NFL how to inspire people to come out and seek help. Help is out there!
"Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes! It's on all of us!"
On a lighter note: McDonald's reran an advertising spot from it's "Lovin'" campaign...all about historical archenemies finding a way to get along. "Love is endless."
The biggest surprise of the night, from a marketing perspective, came from Whirlpool. Whirlpool! The brand's approach and messaging was nothing short of a WOW, completely altering what many of us would have thought about the brand in our lives. It was the culmination of the "Every Day, Care" contest where applicants could show how every day caring (like doing the laundry) changes people's lives. The campaign has been on for a few months, but last night it took center stage. The winner was a WOW, that's all I can say.
Click here to see it. But grab a tissue first.
I'm going to leave it at that.
What's your (Grammy) experience? JIM.
PS - Props to my girl Madonna. Girl still has it, I don't care what anyone says.