I always thought that rock videos were effectively a gesture in cross marketing. A Run DMC audience meets Aerosmith and vice versa. And I always wondered why brands don’t do this kind of thing.
But today in my hotel room I saw the video that features Mary J. Blige and Bono. I find these artists a little tedious alone. But brought together in this video, they were both somehow refreshed.
I think this yet another example of what is proving to be the Swiss Army knife concept: what we call the Jonathan Miller effect here at This Blog Sits At. Each performer is effectively ever so gently cast against type and this breaks up and lets new meanings out of their well formed persona and new meanings in. At the very least, and according to the Miller effect, each act feels not just fresher but somehow, and paradoxically, truer to itself.
In any case, cross marketing proves to be merely one of the benefits and a distinctly inferior when compared to the revivication that takes place one two acts are brought together.
The question then is, might this happen for brands. Certainly something like is happening when Snop Dog features a Chrysler 300 in a video. But in a sense this works like a celebrity endorsement. I’m talking, I think, about moments in which Coke products appear in an ad for say FedEX.
The idea here is NOT to find a marketing partner that has a youthful audience or a constituency that TCCC (the Coca-Cola Company) wishes to recruit. The idea is to put Coke in the company with something with which it doesn’t quite go. What we are looking for is something a little counter-expectational. Not deeply strange, just a little odd, so that we are now obliged to savor the differences, look for the similarities, ask for a moment, so just who is this Bono fellow again?
This is what I think helps break open the existing set of meanings, decide what exists there and whether and how will it plays off this unexpected partner.
As we seek to give brands newly robust and dynamic meanings, I think we will be obliged to resort to new meaning management strategies that are not at first true to marketing orthodoxy. Ah, but that’s one of the reasons marketing has become so newly interesting and difficult. I think.
(written from a Kinko’s in London because some hotels here are still trying to come to grips with this "whole internet access" thing. Here in the great capital of capital in Europe, we are, from an internet point of view, still partying like it’s 1999.)