Pass Your I.D., Then Pass The Patron

According to Toronto Star, researchers parsed 793 songs on Billboard Magazine’s top 100 lists from 2005-2007 and found that 21.3 per cent of them referred explicitly to alcohol and of those, 24.3 per cent referred to alcohol by brand.

The brands mentioned most often were Patrón Téquila, Grey Goose Vodka, Hennessy Cognac and Cristal Champagne. Yet, these are not paid product placements–if they were they’d be illegal, as the market for the music is largely under 21.

“Brand appearances are important to assess because they may function as advertising, whether or not they are paid for or sanctioned by the alcohol industry,” according to the researchers, led by Dr. Brian Primack, assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.

Greg Cohen, director of corporate communications for Patrón Téquila, said the company has never solicited or paid for mention in any song.

“If an artist chooses to include us in their song, that’s their doing. In our view, it’s not advertising, because we don’t pay for it, we don’t solicit it,” said Cohen.

Are you buying that cleint’s line? I’m not because the 50 Cent video above is clearly more than casual product placement. It is an ad for 50 Cent and the lifestyle he leads, in which brands, particularly luxury brands, are important props. Technically speaking, it may not be an a for Patron, but it’s sure as shit an ad and Patron is front and center in it.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.