Suggestive advertising is all around us and, according to a recent study by University of Colorado Denver, increasingly forcing its way into popular music.
The study, conducted by music business professor Storm Gloor, examined Top 30 Billboard songs from 1960 to 2013 and found that, while always present in some capacity, “advertainment,” or the practice of name checking commercial brands or products in songs, has seen a sharp increase over the last couple of decades.
“This really started to rise in the mid '90s,” Gloor says. “During that time is also when artists had to do more branding of themselves. They were marketing themselves and a song became an advertisement for artists. That contributed to that market increase.”
Gloor mentions some of the more successful examples of "advertainment" are Busta Rhymes 2002 hit single `Pass the Courvoisier” and “My Adidas” by Run DMC, both of which caused those products to jump in sales.
“This has to do with trends,” he says. “Busta Rhymes has a song where he mentions Courvoisier and a county artists hears it and wants to mention his favorite beer. It’s all telling a generation of artists that it’s OK to do this. It’s a subtle acceptance of what we used to call selling out. These days, it’s considered smart, you can’t blame artists for doing this.”
With this practice still in full swing, we decided to take a look at a few examples of "advertainment" in some of today’s most popular songs.
"Mercy" - Kanye West
Product(s) mentioned: Lamborghini, Audemar, Duncan Heinz, Def Jam, Air Jordans, Louis Vuitton, Polo
"Thrift Shop" - Macklemore
Product(s) mentioned: Pro Wings, Goodwill, Gucci
"Little Red Wagon" - Miranda Lambert
Product(s) mentioned: Tony Lamas, Dodge Dart
"Empire State of Mind" - Jay Z
Product(s) mentioned: McDonald's, Billboard, New York Knicks, New York Yankees, Yellow Cab
"Glamorous" - Fergie
Product(s) mentioned: Taco Bell, Mustang, MTV
"Hello Kitty" - Avril Lavigne
Product(s) mentioned: Hello Kitty, Smarties
"Fireball" - Pitbull
Product(s) mentioned: Fireball Whiskey
"Low" - Flo Rida & T-Pain
Product(s) mentioned: Reebok, XO Congac, Cadillac, Range Rover