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Music In Advertising

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Cannes Advertising Festival is taking place June 14th- June 21st and of course announcements are being made about the seminars planned. Grey New York announced that its Second Annual Music Seminar with Living Legends will feature Tony Bennett this year. “Talking Music with Tony Bennett,” on Wednesday, June 18 (12 noon, Cannes time) at the Debussy. Last year’s seminar with John Legend and ’60s folk rock star, Donavan was very popular, I hear.


Tim Mellors, Worldwide Chief Creative Director & Worldwide Vice Chairman Grey Group, and Josh Rabinowitz, SVP/Director of Music, Grey New York will be leading the panel.

Danny Bennett, Tony’s son and manager, had a lot to say about what he thought advertisers could learn from the seminar, “Representing Tony Bennett, who is the embodiment of integrity and artistic excellence, to the advertising community has been an extraordinary responsibility. As I say, I don’t handle a career, I manage a legacy. We have chosen with great care the right partnerships and through these shared commitments have navigated successfully the fine line between ‘art and commerce’.” To that I say, while Tony Bennett is a phenomenal talent, I don’t relate his career to that of a successfully run ad campaign. I look to my ad agency to provide the right direction in terms of marketing my product. Sure art has its place in influencing consumers, but all the passion in the world for good art is lost in the big picture of building a brand if the message falls short. We need planning and strategy. That’s what the marketing teams and creatives are there for. Build an idea and then find what makes that idea feel intrinsic. The other way around will only succeed in one hit wonder advertising every time.

Josh Rabinowitz comments that, “Advertising is becoming a new form of the music label. Any day now, we will see the most popular song in America, as well as around the world, come out of a brand’s advertising, as opposed to radio or a “record” release.” There is some validity to the thought that a really good ad that has a really good song can peak the interest of the audience and increase the fan base. But I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a true music lover that is waiting around for the commercial break to ‘discover’ that hot new band. And the operative phrase there is ‘really good ad’. You’d have to be in a shop that is producing that kind of work to really get that point. Desperate agencies are constantly swinging the way of bells and whistles to sell things now. More cowbell anyone?

There is a fine line between using music as a backdrop to enhance the story and using it to mask a shitty idea.
Mellors says “The word genius is thrown around in advertising like confetti,”. To that I say- hear, hear.

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