By: Dan Stankus
Music and advertising have long clashed over the issue of “selling out. “Such is the case with musician Jack White of “The White Stripes”, who lent his talents to the Coca-Cola brand.
Celebrity endorsements in advertising are nothing new, but while they lend themselves to a brand, the brand might not always return the favor. This is especially true of musicians. Many music fans detest the idea of their favorite band “selling out.” This could include signing to a major record label, making “uninspired” albums, or having a hand in a commercial.
Many will argue that “the band needs the money” or “the group actually likes the product.” While some might respond more aggressively, saying that they’ll “never buy another record.”
Is the ultimate goal just to make money, or to be artistically fulfilled? It is a tough decision, especially for an artist who may actually need money and may be more financially successful with a commercial than in album sales.
Unfortunately for Jack white, this does not apply.
This first incident is just one of White’s issues with Coca-Cola. In a later instance, White’s intro theme for the James bond film “Quantum of Solace” was used in a Coca-Cola commercial before the film’s release. This action elicited a response from White’s management, who said: “Jack White was commissioned by Sony Pictures to write a theme song for the James Bond film Quantum of Solace, not for Coca-Cola. Any other use of the song is based on decisions made by others, not by Jack White.”
The song was unapproved, the commercial undefended. The rocker, whose band even shares the same colors as Coca-Cola (red, white and black), then made a statement to music journal NME saying, “I’ve been offered the opportunity to write a song in a way which interests me as a songwriter.”
White stated his peace, but he still could not appease angry fans. I will defend Jack, as well as the advertising endeavor, on the basis that he did not compromise his artistic integrity.
A company thought he would be right for their commercial and after viewing the ad, White said: “I was inspired by the commercial … to be asked to write something particular along one theme of love in a worldwide form that I’m not really used to appealed to me. I’ve written a song and I wrote it really quickly and it’s an interesting commercial that’s been made.”
An inspired song created for an inspired ad. It’s a good combination for a successful campaign, all while retaining the artist’s integrity.