Cashing in Chips at SXSW with Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga and Doritos
Lady Gaga and Doritos

This may be a new low for Music Branding associations.

You might find this article interesting in the New York Times.

The author laments the takeover of SXSW by corporate brands and wonders whether SXSW is a stage for the brands or the artists? More old(r) men lamenting the good old days where Artists were anti-establishment. Get over it. The artists now crave to be the establishment

Few in this new millennium era  care about sponsors and artists cozying up.. The “mega” artists continue to dominate the sponsorships and media attention while amazing new artists who are sleeping on floors and trading their last paychecks for gas money to get to SXSW fight, as they always must, for attention. Bummer? No, Reality check 2014.

No there’s nothing new here. SXSW has just become  a music and technology sponsor-fest….is there something wrong with that? It was inevitable. SXSW is not a 501(c)

What is interesting is the risk reward relationship that unfolded around the Doritos “Bold” sponsorship of Lady Gaga at SXSW with GaGa organizing a performance artist to vomit all over her during the Doritos branded show! That’s Bold.

Its well known that Frito Lay is a world class company and marketing organization. And Lady Gaga is a superstar….one whose running head face into the dark without her long time and also world class manager Troy.

However, this ill fated marketing initiative was bound to bring the wrong kind of attention. Attention, certainly, comes with the GaGa territory. She excels at attention getting. But disgust and laughs? Could not have been the plan.  But does anyone at Doritos believe that this association was good value? Not anymore you can be sure. Having organized some of the largest branded associations with artists in the world, (Pepsi and Beyonce- Led Zeppelin and Cadillac) I must admit to being challenged by artists feeling that they must show their credibility by biting the hand that’s feeding them, but I’ve never, ever seen something  so public and frankly dispensed with such (artistic) contempt….oh in the name of art of course;)

Brands today, more than ever in an instant social media world have to carefully think through the associations they craft they to augment their marketing efforts; especially when the whole point is to drive a conversation. How about this conversation? GaGa has a performance artist barf all over her at a Doritos gig…

Its not easy and I’m not advocating being risk adverse. Just be smart and vet the artist.  Never ever forget that the brighter the star the higher the inner temperature that burns; meaning, artistic genius (and yes even tho I do not care much for her music I do believe GaGa is an artistic genius) comes with a very sharp double edge sword. Is this a case of a smart plan just gone awry or a  plan where you could have seen this freight train coming? IMHO the latter….Meanwhile…Katy Perry and Popchips… much smarter relationship and working!

Transparency: I’m an owner in Popchips but had no hand in its relationship with KP.

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