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Sufjan Stevens Lectures Miley Cyrus on Grammar

sufjan-stevensWe never promised to stop posting on Miley, and this story is a must for everyone who writes and/or reads all day via our sister blog Galleycat.

Singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens followed Sinead O’Connor in writing an “open” letter to the pop star, but he was more interested in discussing the questionable grammar in her hit “Get It Right” than her recent shenanigans:

Dear Miley. I can’t stop listening to #GetItRight (great song, great message, great body), but maybe you need a quick grammar lesson. One particular line causes concern: “I been laying in this bed all night long.” Miley, technically speaking, you’ve been LYING, not LAYING, an irregular verb form that should only be used when there’s an object, i.e. “I been laying my tired booty on this bed all night long.” Whatever. I’m not the best lyricist, but you know what I mean. #Get It Right The Next Time. But don’t worry, even Faulkner messed it up.

He then detours into a discussion of the present perfect continuous tense (which would be “I have been lying in this bed all night long”) before ending with what reads like a coming-out note:

Girl, you work it like Mike Tyson. Miley, I love you because you’re the Queen, grammatically and anatomically speaking. And you’re the hottest cake in the pan. Don’t ever grow old. Live brightly before your fire fades into total darkness. XXOO Sufjan

While we applaud Sufjan’s attempt to steer Miley through the complex maze that is the English language, we have to ask: what was up with the electronics on that last album, dude?

*Photo via this guy

Miley Cyrus Responds to Sinead O’Connor’s Open ‘Tough Love’ Letter

8C9261589-tdy-131003-sinead-miley.blocks_desktop_teaseMiley Cyrus, current queen of pop music controversy, has found herself on the receiving end of some serious tough love advice from a woman who formerly wore the same crown: Sinead O’Connor. Cyrus recently cited the Irish songstress’s 1990′s “Nothing Compares 2 U” as inspiration for her “Wrecking Ball” video, and also said that her hairstyle was a nod to O’Connor.

In response, O’Connor wrote a brutally honest — but clearly heartfelt and well-meaning – open letter to Cyrus, saying, “I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.”

What she tells her “in the spirit of motherliness and love”, consists of no-holds-barred phrases like the following (Be forewarned of graphic language):

“The music business doesn’t give a shit about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted.. and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, ‘they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.”

“Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted.. its so not cool Miley.. its dangerous.”

“Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you…Kindly fire any motherfucker who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.”

The whole letter can be seen after the jump (and we recommend reading the entirety — it’s pretty fantastic).

As rebellious youths tend to respond to mother/daughter tough love talks, Cyrus chose to ignore the well-meaning message, and instead fired back with snark and resentment, tweeting the following taunting messages in O’Connor’s direction: Read more

Drake Is the Toronto Raptors’ New Brand Ambassador

Drizzle

Looks like Drizzy of “YOLO” had FOMO on repping brands’ mojo.

Today the Toronto Raptors announced that proud Canuck Drake, better known as “that kid in the wheelchair on Degrassi“, would be the team’s new “global ambassador” as part of a rebranding campaign after they finished last season at 14 games under .500.

This sort of stunt didn’t work so well for Alicia Keys at Blackberry or Justin Timberlake at Bud Light, but there’s no question that Beyoncé  and Jay-Z earned quite a few media mentions for Pepsi, Samsung and the Brooklyn Nets. Also: Drake is a reliable presence at games who’s been known to hang out with LeBron, so it’s a more natural fit than, say, Will.I.Am and Intel.

Now what will Drake do, exactly?

Read more

The Changing Dynamics of Celebrity Branding

George Clooney Medium PostUsing celebrities to promote brands has been a “long and winding road”. While that Beatles song was about the band’s relationship, the title aptly describes the complex nature of stars’ endorsements. In recent years, the dynamics have evolved, according to entertainment industry insiders working in music, sports and modeling. At a Tuesday Advertising Week panel in New York, the discussion and takeaways also focused on the current state of celebrity marketing, deal-making, media exposure and social media.

Shifting perspectives: “Until recently superstars didn’t want to touch celebrity endorsements,” said Tommy Mottola, well-known music executive and talent manager. But now he said only a handful of A-listers, like Bruce Springsteen, steer clear of such promotions. As Ryan Schinman, CEO of Platinum Rye Entertainment added, “Meryl Streep is the only female Oscar winner who hasn’t appeared in ads.” Online videos are partly responsible, noted Jon Liebman, CEO of Brillstein Entertainment Partners. “Though stars often did endorsements overseas, now YouTube offers fans access to international ads.”

Reasons for “selling out” vary by category: In the music business it’s mainly about money, Mottola observed. “Now music revenues have been significantly reduced. So that’s helped promote the need to find other income sources”, he said. Meanwhile, “sports endorsements were catapulted by the example of Michael Jordan”, said Mike Levine, co-head of CAA Sports. “In modeling, there were fewer magazine covers available when actors and musicians began appearing on covers. So models had to figure out what else to do”, explained Faith Kates, founder of Next Model Management.

Close alignment between brands and talent: “I don’t want to let my clients in any way hurt their core business, which is acting”, said Liebman. “I make sure it’s a safe shot that’s interesting and fun.” Mottola considers deals “that enhance the artists’ image and broadens their horizons.” As for Kates, “I look for the right team, brand and package. I want long-term opportunities, not hit-and-runs,” she said.

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Was Eminem’s ESPN Appearance Really That Strange?


Eminem made an appearance on ESPN’s Saturday Night Football halftime show that’s being called “puzzling” and “bizarre,” but to our eyes, it looks totally fine.

In a weird promotional attempt, Eminem (or Marshall Mathers, as ESPN preferred to call him), stopped by the show to talk with Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit about his new album, tease the video for the song “Berserk,” and talk about the Detroit Lions. But the rapper started off by giving a kind of hilarious blank stare. Right after the musical clip aired, he admitted that live TV kind of freaks him out.

I’m not an avid football watcher (the Super Bowl is about it for me) so I’m not sure how often a musical guest appears on this show. But just the shot of the three men standing in a row indicates that there are different styles at play here, which could have also enhanced the quirkiness of the interview.
Read more

Beyoncé’s Big Chicken Order: Innocent Meal or PR Stunt?

BREAKING: Beyoncé‘s entourage likes chicken. A lot of chicken.

After a concert in Essex on Saturday, she ordered what was almost certainly the largest delivery in the history of Nando’s, a South African/UK chicken chain: $2,200 worth of wings, fries, veggie burgers…and 48 whole birds.

So the lady’s team loves their fowl. But The Cut sees a PR strategy beneath all the oil and hot sauce: this isn’t the first time Mrs. Carter has made news for being a generous customer. She spent four figures at a Nando’s in Ireland earlier in the year, and a New Orleans bakery got some attention last month when she called after closing time to request a big post-show order that inspired the business to reconsider its “no delivery” policy.

The Cut might have a point: a simple Google search for “Beyonce chicken” reveals that pretty much every blog everywhere is on the Nando’s story. It’s not like she was going for anonymity, either: the name on the order was “Beyonce K.”

That simple choice was really three things in one: clickbait for pop culture bloggers, great publicity for Nando’s and yet another way for Beyoncé to remind the world that she’s just like us. Win-win-win.

What’s With the Robin Thicke vs. Marvin Gaye Lawsuit?

Hey hey hey. Yes, we’re a little late to this story. We’re a little late to this song. When we first heard the name Robin Thicke this summer we started humming the theme from Growing Pains before Googling him, thinking “George Michael is back?” and realizing that we are now officially old.

After hearing about the lawsuit and listening to “Blurred Lines” (no, we won’t link to it here), we have to agree that it sounds a bit like Marvin Gaye‘s “Got to Give It Up”. The similarity extends well beyond the cowbell, but at the same time the choruses clearly don’t match up.

So why did the new song’s authors feel the need to file a pre-emptive lawsuit against the Gaye estate? And why did they thank themselves for writing a “massively successful composition” in the complaint? Sure, any suit filed by the Gaye estate would have created a bit of bad publicity for Thicke and company, but is this scenario really any better? We would have advised them all to just let it go in the interest of not looking like litigious, overly defensive copycats.

First Lady to Release Hip Hop Album to Get Kids Eating Right and Exercising

Nothing gets the kids rockin’ like songs titled “We Like Vegetables” and music videos featuring Dr. Oz and spliced-in PSAs from the white house, right?

Actually, you might be surprised.

Michelle Obama, throughout her tenure as First Lady, has made the health of American children a top priority. But simply telling kids they should get up and move for a few minutes every day doesn’t necessarily inspire them to put down the game controllers and smartphones. So, Mrs. Obama is hoping that putting a hip hop beat and some celebrity vocalists behind that message might do the trick.

The Partnership for a Healthier America and Hip Hop Public Health have teamed up with celebrity musicians to create “Songs for A Healthier America,” a 19-track hip-hop album designed to motivate kids to make healthier diet, exercise and wellness choices. The album, which also includes other genres like country and pop, features songs titled “U R What You Eat,” “Veggie Luv,” “We Like Vegetables,” and “Get Up, Sit Up.” Read more

Even Kanye Can’t Pitch to Vogue

We know how tough it can be to score press placements for your clients—especially when they have their hearts set on a feature in nose-in-the-air publications like Vogue.

Like every good PR pro, Kanye West knows that his client…err, his newborn daughter, North, should only get the very best publicity. He won’t have any of that “sure you can take ‘intimate’ pictures of me and my infant for $20 million” nonsense.

But even the reigning champion of completely unearned media mentions can’t seem to get Anna Wintour to put his kid on the cover of her magazine, despite the fact that his latest album drew more influence from Versace’s 2014 collection than Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt.

RadarOnline writes that Wintour is somehow “nonpulsed” about the prospect of featuring a little West on her cover even after Kanye “compiled the latest … statistics” demonstrating that reality stars still sell magazines. Two things we learned from that last sentence: Kanye knows how to create a spreadsheet with scissors and glue and RadarOnline’s editorial staff doesn’t trust the auto-correct feature.

Thanks to FishbowlNY for making us feel a little smarter today.

Unilever Restrings Musical Instruments with Human Hair to Prove its Strength

Agency JWT Singapore/Manila recently teamed up with Unilever shampoo brand Cream Silk Hair for an undeniably creative (and undeniably creepy) promotion.

In order to prove how well Cream Silk products strengthen hair, the pair organized a string quartet concert in a Manila mall. All of the bows used in the concert — usually made with horse hair because of its durability — were instead strung with human hair that had been washed and conditioned with Cream Silk products.

The ad below shows South East Asian bow-maker Paul Goh crafting the bows out of human hair as an instrumental version of Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” plays in the background. The spot culminates with a clip of the 40-song, 240-minute concert, all of which took place with zero hair breakage (pretty impressive). The video closes with the compelling line, “Not only can strong hair be seen, it can be heard.” Read more

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