Ship It

[MADAME NOIRE] Music Video Or Commercial? Artists Blur The Line

India.Arie has a reputation for being obvious with her Mother Earth persona. Now she’s making her love for cocoa butter clear. It’s not just that the lead single off her new album “SongVersation” is called “Cocoa Butter.” She’s also partnered up with Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula for the new music video (available at the bottom of the page).  As if a chorus of “Your love is like cocoa butter on my heart” doesn’t provide enough inspiration for 140-character jokes, her latest music video positions her as cocoa butter’s answer to the Avon lady.

Brands Behind the Music

Lady Gaga is credited with ushering in blatant product placement in music videos. Before her, product placement meant the camera lingered on the product longer than it took for you to count to “one-Mississippi.” In 2010, Gaga’s “Telephone” video included in-your-face placements for everything from Miracle Whip to Virgin Mobile.

Brought on by videos’ move from television to the Internet and record labels’ attempt to make videos a revenue source and not just a marketing tool, this trend shows no signs of slowing. Music integrations were up 22.7 percent last year alone according to the PQ Media Global Product Placement Spending Forecast 2012-2016. Remember when MTV dominated music video distribution and logos were blurred out? The channel had it’s own advertisers to cater to. The Web allows advertisers more access to space in videos.

“YouTube and Vevo provide the best places for music videos to be posted with ads,” says Deborah Posner, an advertising instructor at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. “Vevo, in particular, was launched in 2009 for the specific purpose of enabling product placement in music videos by high-end advertisers with free access by viewers.”

When It Works & When It Doesn’t

Lord knows the music industry can’t afford to churn out videos like it did in MTV’s heyday. Product placement helps the medium to survive. Artists get financial support often without sacrificing their creativity or bombarding their fans with overt advertising. Everyone wins. Until now.

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