Hip-hop product placement takes it to the next level. (Hey 50 Cent, you've got some special sauce on your chin.)
Some hip-hop is really selling out.
The Boston Globe has a story about a new marketing plan whereby McDonalds will pay rappers for mention of the Big Mac.
According to the story, the marketing company, Maven Strategies, has already contacted several rappers, as well as producers and record labels, about the plan. Artists who sign on will not be paid upfront, but will instead receive $1 to $5 every time their song is played on the radio -- in other words, it'll only cost the company if the song is a hit, and even then, it's far less than it would pay to launch a traditional ad campaign.
...McDonald's will retain final approval of the lyrics.
Will this plan have any takers? I think it will. Apparently this same marketing company already set something up for Seagram's with a few rappers last year. The thing is, these references won't even really stand out much, since there's so much branding in rap already. That's part of the beauty of it, the way it's immersed in the culture and picks up all the details of the world around it. But getting paid specifically for the mention, and per play, changes the way I see it. It crosses the line from portraying the culture as it is to actively encouraging particular brands.
Consider this, from SFGate.com:
According to American Brandstand, a Web site (www.agendainc.com/brand.html) that tracks brand names on the Billboard top singles chart, of the 111 songs that made the Billboard Top 20 in 2003, 43 mentioned a product; 84 different brands were named.
That statistic is specific to rap. That's 38.7%! And that was 2 years ago.
Gosh, this ABSOLUT I'm drinking sure tastes good.