Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fergie "didn't sell out totally"

Women's Wear Daily is reporting that Fergie is threatening legal action against the Sunday Times over the story that she was taking cash from fashion chain Candies in return for singing about them:

"It's completely false," she told WWD on Monday, adding that she is taking legal action against the paper. "I don't know where they got it from. I sing about a lot of things in my songs — from cars to Taco Bell — but not because I'm paid to!"

She is, however, taking money to endorse the brand in other ways, as the chain's parent company makes clear in its denial:
A spokeswoman for Iconix Brand Group also denied that Fergie was being paid to plug the brand in her music. "Contrary to recent reports, Candie's does not have an arrangement with Fergie whereby she will incorporate the Candie's brand into her lyrics. Currently, Fergie acts as the junior brand's spokesperson and appears in its multimedia marketing campaigns including print, national television, Internet and promotions."

It's understandable that Fergie would want to defend herself against the suggestion that her creative process is being influenced by a corporate buy-in.

Mind you, the original press release announcing her tie-up with the company shows that the line between her musical career, and her business as a corporate shill, is more than a little blurred nevertheless:
Iconix Brand Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ICON) recently announced its exclusive partnership with 3x Grammy award-winning artist, Fergie for its Candie's(R) brand fall '07 television, print and online advertising campaign. The junior brand, available exclusively at Kohl's Department Stores, styled her current music video "Big Girl Don't Cry," which features Candie's apparel, footwear, jewelry, sleepwear, hats and bedding. The Candie's television commercial is a direct cut from the "Big Girls Don't Cry" music video and the print campaign will feature candid shots taken on set during the shoot. This is the first time a junior fashion brand has extracted their campaign from a music video. "Big Girls Don't Cry" is in the top five on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and among the top 10 most played videos on MTV and VH-1.

Commenting on the partnership, Fergie stated, "Candie's is giving me creative input and they are allowing me to bring my touch to the campaign and I love that! The clothes are so wonderful and we are tying it all together, the commercial, the print ads and my video and I am really excited about it."

This is interesting - the idea that, simultaneously, the adverts are a "direct cut" from the video and that Candies allowed Fergie an input into the campaign. In other words, she was allowed a say in an advert that was part of her video.
Dari Marder, Chief Marketing Officer, Iconix Brand Group, Inc. said, "This is a wonderful opportunity for Candie's to be able to lift our brand creative straight out of Fergie's hit video, "Big Girls Don't Cry." It further validates the Candie's brand as part of pop culture."

Julie Gardner, Kohl's Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, said, "The new Candie's advertising campaign marks a first for a junior fashion brand. The campaign is innovative and authentic and leverages the music video, which makes the brand more relevant to our junior shoppers."

Candie's recently announced its exclusive fashion sponsorship with Fergie on her first solo tour. Fergie's Verizon VIP Tour has a 20-city schedule and tickets are exclusive to Candie's and Verizon Wireless through give-a-ways and Kohl's in-store events in select markets, as no tickets will be sold for this tour. The tour has received amazing reviews from critics and fans. At each concert there is a live Candie's fashion show.

So, part of her gigs is an advertorial for the chain's fashion as well - presumably, that support act would be there even if it hadn't been paid for.

We can understand that Fergie might not want people to think her artistic decisions are being directed by a sponsor. At least, not unsubtly.

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