Can A Singer Like Fergie Sell Out Before She Sells Songs?

From The New York Post:

If everyone has a price, Fergie’s is $4 million.
The 32-year-old Black Eyed Peas singer is the first global star to consent to product placement in her songs – agreeing to include the provocative clothing line Candie’s in her lyrics.

Is this just a 21st century way of jingle writing? While Chevy is appropriating the lyrics of folks who already used the brand in songs, this is a little different.
If it happens all the time on TV shows and in movies, why shouldn’t it happen in music? Do you have a problem with this type of product placement?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. theo kie says:

    All I can say is, “What the hell have we done?” I do have a problem with this, because it’s now no longer music. These “songs” are simply marketing pitches with a melody wrapped around it. At some point the market will either revolt or become so inundated by marketing messages that it all becomes invisible to consumers.

  2. Pass The Corvoussier by Busta Rhymes
    My Adidas by Run DMC
    My Air Force Ones by Nelly
    Buy me a Mercedes Benz by Janice Joplin
    Two dope boys in a Cadillace by Outkast
    Danny, it’s been done for years. The only difference now is artists, particularly urban artists are getting smart enough to ask for money up front.
    will it be better than what us copywriters and brand strategists come up with? Who knows… It’s not like we didn’t spend years running up to production houses with our favorite CDs saying, “can you rip this guy/girl’s sound off without getting us sued?”
    But just because Fergie’s asking for 4 mill don’t mean she’ll get it. She’s not Madonna in her prime or anything like that. but some artist will be the perfect storm of (1) great following (2) hot song with not too ridiculously cheesy product shoutouts (3) appropriate client relationship.
    and when it clicks, it;ll be like Jay-Z could’ve been or Busta or something on that level.
    This is an American idol world… everyone sees the wizard behind the curtain.
    people will be cool with it.
    It’s just whiny spoiled ad industry people who want everything their way on their terms and want all the money for just themselves that are gonna complain.

  3. theo kie says:

    A couple points, Hadji…
    I’m not a whiny, spoiled industry person who wants things my way. I’m a music lover who has no interest in listening to marketing ploys masquerading as music.
    Second, it hasn’t been done “for years”. Janet Joplin didn’t sing about Mercedes because she was paid by the brand to write the song. It represented something in her storytelling. Run DMC wrote about Adidas because they represented something that was naturally coming out of their world. Adidas didn’t approach them with a check and list of how many times the brand name should be mentioned. Good music comes from the soul and personal experience of the artist, not from a marketing plan.
    Third, the more this happens, the less it will matter. The more brands are inserted into content, the more they become invisible via their ubiquity.
    To summarize…I’m sick of marketers thinking it’s okay to invade every molecule of space in search of profit. If you think the public looks forward to our inserting advertising logos and slogans on every surface of their world, you’re delusional. At best, they will simply tune it out. At worst, they’ll revolt.
    It’s our funeral. The only question is how quickly we want to climb into the casket.

  4. There’s also the issue of how fickle the pop and (especially) hip-hop world are when it comes to adopting brands.
    Is paying an “artist” to write a song about your product worth it when it all it does is spike your sales for a few months, only for them to be dead and unable to be revived?
    As for Air Force Ones and My Adidas, both have been long, long term icons in hip hop and therefore have longevity which prompted the songs, as stated before.

  5. The issues for a brand and for an artist or label are multitude – and I described most of them here on my blog, but there are a few more points to consider.
    Yes, artists ought to be savvy about their careers, and getting money from consumer marketers in lieu of huge record/ringtone/download sales should be a part of their strategic and tactical thinking to that end, but it’s one thing to take the cash and incorporate the brand into the song and another thing for the press to get wind of it and clamor about it, exposing the artist as a shill!
    That’s bad for the brand because it means the marketer and their agencies feel the brand isn’t cool enough for artists to address it specifically in songs in an organic way.
    It’s interesting that so many of these deals are coming in the genres of pop and hip-hop. Why? Because these genres have become vacuous; they have nothing original to say to listeners. Fergie’s biggest hits have ripped off a nursery rhyme and JJ Fad – there’s nothing original there. She’s the smut pop version of Gwen Stefani. Mainstream hip-hop hasn’t had a lyrically important hit song for years. It’s all cash and flash. And hip-hop sales are tanking overall; no wonder they’re selling off yrics to the highest bidder.
    Who remembers any song from Jay-Z’s last album more than they remember that he was in a Budweiser commercial (which was all the less authentic knowing that he had previously been in a Heineken commercial!)? The problem is both were unremarkable efforts!