Tuesday, September 07, 2004

NO, REALLY, HOW MUCH DID YOU GET FOR YOUR SOUL?: Fay Weldon was on Breakfast yesterday, so I know for a fact that the bile still rises at the knowledge that she took cash from the arriviste jewellers Bulgari to write a book which featured them and their product in a prominent role - there's nothing wrong with advertising, but let's not try and pretend the hooker is part of a long and loving relationship, eh? You'd think music would at least be above this sort of thing - indeed, in the UK, it would have been self-defeating to take cash for a mention in a song a few years back. The BBC's rules kept any songs off the air if they mentioned a brand name (hence the Kinks drank Cherry, not Coca-, Cola, as we've spoken of before); now, though, the rise of commercial radio seems to have changed the attitudes at Broadcasting House - after all, they played the Fast Food Rockers "McDonalds, McDonalds/Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut" refrain often enough. You'll recall we discussed this a while back in relation to the now-defunct Lucian James chart of brand names. At that time we wondered if there was a spot of product placement going on behind the scenes. It seems there is. For while we can believe that a chap like Busta Rhymes might have written a song praising Courvoisier out of love for the brand, we just can't believe that Angie Stone would have decided to write a song about the obscure mixer drink Remy Red before the Remy Martin company elected to sponsor her summer tour. Again, there's nothing wrong with taking cash for adverts - we're mulling signing up for Google Adwords ourselves - but it should be clear that that is what you're delivering. And people might be a little pissed off at shelling out hard earned cash for what is little more than a sponsor's message - it'd be like paying for spam email.

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