Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Sing the Jingle (Oscar Mayer)

Wednesday, 2 August 2006; 15:49

Some of us have advertising jingles in our heads that even the dreaded memory-robbing Alzheimer’s disease fears. For baby boomers, that means every single one of us can sing, entirely from memory, the Oscar Mayer jingle we heard a million times as kids. Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer weiner….

It must be a great jingle. It has certainly lasted the test of time. (Is there another even close to its equal?) And now, decades after its introduction, we can not only sing the jingle, but also play with it at Oscar Mayer’s Jingle Jam. You get to choose the beat, musical instrument, auto or manual play, or best of all — play it yourself on your computer’s keyboard!

It’s always nice to find something new, different, and most unexpected. It’s an added bonus when that find has you recall your childhood and smile. With clearly deliberate design by Oscar Mayer, that means both children and adults will enjoy playing around with this online promotion.

Some of your kids (or you?) might still catch the current internet video wave with Oscar Mayer’s Be A Star video contest. Go ahead, give him or her your videocam. S/he just might make you famous. Many of these entrants, however, probably will not.

Oops…don’t overlook the games page. You might even go retro and hot dog your Pong skills.

Home page: Oscar Mayer

Oscar Mayer logo graphic

“American Dream” (Budweiser)

Wednesday, 2 August 2006; 11:11

Legal Advisement: The following commercial content is to be viewed only by individuals 21 years old or older.

After viewing American Dream by Budweiser, you will not doubt its nomination for an Emmy Award. This is a great commercial that may even bring tears to your eyes. It does everything right. Who would not stop and at least consider purchasing a six-pack of Budweiser after viewing it? Only the Grinch.

Something extra: Have a look at Budweiser in China. Very different, eh?

Home page: Budweiser

Clydesdales graphic 01

PSYOP.tv (& Blacklist.tv)

Tuesday, 1 August 2006; 14:13

No, PSYOP.tv is not another TVoIP channel. However, this NYC design firm does focus on providing visual solutions in motion for the advertising & marketing, video gaming, broadcast and music video industries. And, they do some very excellent work.

The Distillery appreciates the manner in which PSYOP.tv provides direct links to its portfolio (e.g., http://www.psyop.tv/redhotchilipeppers) and designing the links to be copied and pasted. That significant detail is something other sites almost invariably lack, but without it intra-site navigation often becomes a nightmare — especially when attempting to point to specific content within a completely Flash-powered site. The Distillery awards major kudos to PSYOP for that nice and much-needed touch.

PSYOP also sponsors its Blacklist.tv division, a unique international and collaborative effort where up-and-coming content producers are given room to experiment with cutting-edge and often experimental ideas. (But unless you wish to experiment with finding a new job, be certain to turn down the volume before entering the Blacklist site.)

Home page: PSYOP.tv
Home page: Blacklist.tv

PSYOP.tv logo

Gibson Guitars

Friday, 28 July 2006; 10:30

Nashville is filled to its gills with guitars — and terrible guitar pickers. There are so many guitars badly played that the coffee house I frequented while living there finally imposed a “No Guitars!” rule. (The vote was unanimous among us, the regulars.) But instead of hurting your ears with “Mom’s in prison and my dog just died” picking and grinning, Gibson Guitars takes you on a video tour of the Gibson factory and a bit of Nashville. (And isn’t that what’s-his-name from Cheers? Yea, it is! It’s Norm!)

While you’re there, take a few minutes and look through Gibson’s Video Vault. The first video is of Joan Jett and The Blackhearts singing A.C.D.C. Also be certain to enter the contests. Even I’d like a Les Paul.

(By the way, Nashville is the most god-awful and racist city in which I have ever lived. That was one place I could not wait to see in my car’s rearview mirror.)

Home page: Gibson

Les Paul Goddess guitar graphic

Ex-Centris

Friday, 21 July 2006; 11:18

I will introduce you to Ex-Centris, a film production and screening complex, with a powerful clip from The Road to Guantanamo. To quote Forrest Gump, “…and that’s all I have to say about that.”

Ex-Centris delivers far more than the above. Enjoy this short clip from Ici Naja A Vous La Terre. Another from Lemming, a French film I would love to see if the clip is indicative of the entire film. There are others I’ll let you discover on your own.

Now click on Rental. Have a look at the interior of Ex-Centris’ Fellini Theater, presented with Quicktime VR. Once there, be certain not to overlook the underlined link Clicking Here, which demonstrates the transformation of the theatre from a conventional movie theater to an exhibition hall that can even serve as a 3D immersive virtual world. And in that space you now find yourself, turn around and visit the Control Room and other points of interest. Very nice indeed.

While at the Rental portion of the site, be certain to check in at the café and listen to some music by clicking on Albums. In all, quite astounding. I do believe a trip to Montreal is in order.

Home page: Ex-Centris

Ex-Centris logo

Toscana Promozione TV (Italy)

Friday, 21 July 2006; 8:25

Somewhere inside me there is supposed to be the ability to somewhat translate Italian. However, it’s been a very long time since I dated the beautiful Luisa from Naples, my teacher. Therefore, and given the very little time I typically have, you’re on your own with this page of promotional videos from Toscana Promozione TV for the Tuscany region of Italy. (If you wish to cheat a bit, look here.)

Home page: Toscana Promozione

Tuscany painting graphic
radio graphic Tuscany Promotional TV banner

The Metropolitan Opera

Thursday, 13 July 2006; 11:53

It is a very well-kept secret that I love opera. Therefore, let us start with The Metropolitan Opera’s Radio and TV History Timeline. This is one of only two timelines The Distillery has found not to be wanting. The integration of audio is a master stroke. You will find audio clips from former First Lady Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, Leonard Bernstein, and a few other individuals. In addition, the manner in which mouse-overs reveal larger images of the thumbnails is also unique. This is one timeline that will hold your attention.

Next:

Watch composer Tan Dun and director Zhang Yimou talk about The First Emperor. The world premiere of this Met Opera commission takes place on December 21 [2006].

Then listen to an audio clip from Puccini’s La Bohème. Now take a few moments to sit back and fully enjoy this audio clip from Cavalleria Rusticana, sung by Luciano Pavarotti, arguably one of the greatest tenors since Caruso. And one of my favorites, Madame Butterfly.

From there, The Distillery transports its readers to Sights and Sounds of The Metropolitan Opera. One gem found there is a short audio clip of Lilli Lehmann singing Isolde in 1885. There are several others from the late 1800s.

The Met deserves a standing ovation for its online efforts. Enjoy. I certainly did.

Home page: The Metropolitan Opera

Met Opera broadcast graphic The Met historical stage graphic

Tan Dun conducting graphic

Reebok – “I Am What I Am”

Friday, 7 July 2006; 2:14

I didn’t want to be fighting every day. I didn’t want to be selling drugs. I didn’t want to do what everybody was doing in the hood. I wanted to be different. And that’s what Skateboarding gave me. ~Stevie Williams

Allen Iverson — Father, Aspiring Fisherman, Basketball Star. Carolina Kluft — Heptathlete, Daughter, Olympic Champion. 50 Cent — Dad, Survivor, Rap Superstar. Miri Ben-Ari — Former Soldier, Hip Hop Head, World-renown Violinist.

Those are a few of the audio-visual portraits found at Reebok’s I Am What I Am web site. In each case, we discover something different about the spokesperson than what we may now believe. And after Michael Jordan never really speaking out, never taking a stand against child labor, nor expressly looking to be a role model (as he sold $150/pair basketball shoes to low-income inner-city kids), this campaign by Reebok is very refreshing.

It is an interesting approach to selling shoes, which typically serve more as fashion statements than honest-to-goodness athletic shoes. It works for me. Yet then again, maybe I’m not exactly a member of this Reebok campaign’s target audience. After all, Nike remains firmly entrenched as #1.

Still, The Distillery applauds Reebok for a very socially responsible approach to selling shoes and providing sometimes unexpected role models. I doubt they would sponsor Charles Barkley, even if there was some truth in his [in]famous statement about not being a role model. But maybe, just maybe, Reebok has decided it’s not always about making as much money as possible.

Are we truly looking at corporate social responsibility? Believe it or not, so it seems. More evidence is found at Reebok’s Human Rights Program. In fact, The Distillery has previously reviewed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as presented by Reebok. It appears Reebok is indeed the real deal.

When you finish looking through the video portraits (downloadable to iPods and PSPs), be certain to then look at the Behind The Grind video, a casual and light-hearted look into what makes each spokesperson the person they are, and what they believe. The Distillery very much likes and admires this campaign. In fact, this is one advertisement that parents might like to sit down and watch with their kids. Each may walk away a little more enlightened about some unique individuals, life itself, and life’s choices.

Thanks, Reebok. I promise my next pair of sneakers will be Reeboks. I think I owe you one.

Reebok logo Reebok The Pump Match Day Tennis Shoe graphic

John Lennon Songwriting Contest

Wednesday, 5 July 2006; 22:46

As the Jim Croce song says, “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.” That was my very first thought when I ran across the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. In this case it’s not Superman, but it still seems there are some acts one just does not follow. It’s like any band or guitarist that covers Jimi Hendrix. The outcome simply cannot be anything but a disappointment.

That said, the contest has produced some very good, if not excellent music from aspiring musicians and songwriters. And although it’s not the Magic Bus, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus will have to suffice in the 21st century. Given we’re talking about music, it should not come as a surprise to find Apple Computer involved in the project, and where you will find several films and songs from the contest and bus’ travels. A few samples are below. Many more are available at the Apple web site.

Imagine by Yoland King and the Agope Childrens Choir
Detroit Battle of the Bands Winners
Before Morning Light by Timber
Al Jarreau Songwriting Tips Interview
Hey Lady by The Woodlands
The Veronicas Songwriting Tips Interview

(And remember, each Quicktime clip played can be found in your Temporary Internet Files folder. Open it up, copy, and paste where you’d like the clips stored. They’re now yours!)

John Lennon Educ. Tour Bus logo John Lennon Tour Bus graphic

Wal-Mart

Wednesday, 21 June 2006; 14:11

What is this?! Wal-Mart “gets” the internet?! Yes, it appears so. From Wal-Mart’s Soundcheck we first have an exclusive in-studio performance from Nelly Furtado. Nice. Very nice. (By the way, has anyone else noticed just how much this recording release has been promoted? It’s everywhere I look, it seems.) It appears Wal-Mart is out to sell some music, doesn’t it? It certainly has The Distillery reevaluating its perceptions of the firm that puts mom and pop stores out of business wherever it shows up.

We then travel back to Wal-Mart proper and find its Video Center. (Exxon, it’s time to take notes. This is how PR is done.) And being the All-American company that it is, we are not surprised to find videos supporting U.S. troops, kids, and Wal-Mart’s Teacher of the Year. However, Wal-Mart is more about business than anything else and that explains our finding videos highlighting its distribution centers and its expansion into Asian markets.

One lesson many firms might take from Wal-Mart is the use of video scattered throughout its web site, such as those found on its Environment, Community, and People pages. In fact, relatively few pages are entirely static. What The Distillery sees overall from Wal-Mart is both an understanding of its basic retail roots, but also a vision of its future.

So once again, Exxon (#1 on the Fortune 500 List) take heed of what Wal-Mart is doing. Wal-Mart may be behind you at #2 on the Fortune 500 List, but it is certainly far ahead of you at knowing how to use the internet. Maybe some Exxon marketing execs should pull their heads out of the sand and have a look around.

Wal-Mart store interior

Wal-Mart logo

Samsung – “Imagine Freedom” & Helix and Nexus

Friday, 16 June 2006; 16:14

Sorry my good friends, but I am still swamped with work. I am reminded of what one of my graduate school professors said when once I practically swooned over the load of academic work expected of us, the students. His words still ring in my ears, “You’ve got to stop wasting those hours between midnight and six AM.” Please consider this another obligatory entry. After this weekend, life should become…well, different. And you thought I was going to say easier, I know. Nah, I should be so lucky.

Back to business…

I know they have to be out there somewhere because I have read they do sell, but where are they? Oh, you’re wondering what I’m talking about, right? iPod competitors, that’s what. I don’t see them on the buses. I don’t see them on the street. I don’t see them in anyone’s hands. But most of all, I don’t see their ear buds in anyone’s ears. Yet and still, Samsung offers the consumer Imagine Freedom and its Z5 digital audio player. (Digital audio player? Somehow it just doesn’t have the ring and likely staying-power, pop culture-wise, of 8-track player. Oh well….)

Something else has also caught my attention. The so-called music at the Imagine Freedom site is the equivalent of cheap clip art. I just don’t get it. Sites which do not promote music-related products often have excellent music, but the sites that actually sell music-related products are all too often devoid of anything catchy or tracks from well-known artists. Why is that? ‘Tis another puzzlement.

In fact, we have even more “more of less” at Samsung’s Helix and Nexus micro-site. The site appears on the screen–and then you are deafened by the silence. But wait! I get it now! The music doesn’t count! It’s all about looks. Who cares if the music is crappy as long as the player looks cool. Right? It seems so. But even with that revelation, where are the contenders to Apple’s iPod and its sleek and Spartan appearance?

Do firms, aside than Nike, not realize that with Michael Jordan it was his shoes?! It was all about looks. That’s why kids were killing other kids for them. I tried a pair of his shoes and could not even dunk the ball while standing directly under the basket, more less from the free throw line. And with this revelation, The Distillery offers this advice to pretenders to the throne–remember it’s the shoes. That is, style trumps substance. But that aside, how about some decent music when you’re trying to sell me a music-related product? You might then get my attention.

Z5 digital audio player graphic Samsung Nexis XM satellite radio receiver image Samsung logo

Ollie Pop Bubble Gum Co.

Wednesday, 14 June 2006; 10:05

Yea, I like rap. So what’s it to you? To Ollie Pop Bubble Gum, it’s a great background beat with several different songs selected by D J Pain for a very cool skateboarding-oriented web site. (Yea, I’m an ol’skool skateboarder. As I tell the kids, they weren’t invented just yesterday. And as I tell too many adults, remember to never grow up.)

If the site played through the entire playlist instead of endlessly repeating whichever beat/song picked, it would be more engaging and likely to hold its intended audience’s short attention spans. The repetition eventually wears thin if one stays at the site to see all, albeit relatively little that is dynamical, that is there. However, different music is only a mouse click away. If I were still a “skateboarding-is-my-life” kid (vs. occasionally as an adult), I’d definitely have the Ollie Pop Bubble Gum among my favorites/bookmarks.

A few relevant excerpts from the Ollie Pop site:

Ollie Pop infuses the confectionary [sic] industry with new life with its cool skater image. Also, our sponsored riders are influential icons to today’s young consumers. Yesterdays [sic] role models were athletes like Michael Jordan, Pete Rose, and Eric Dickerson, while the youth of today emulate Sports Action figures like: Tony Hawk (upcoming at The Distillery), Eric Koston, Todd Richards, and Kelly Slater. Numbers don’t lie, over 10 million kids now participating in boardsports globally.

Ollie Pop’s mission is to encourage the expansion of board sports as a positive outlet for today’s youth, represent skateboarding in a truthful manner, and provide exposure for core companies that have fostered the growth of board sports. Building customer loyalty by providing top quality bubblegum and connecting the consumer with the world of Action Sports is our number one priority.

One last thing: I very much like Ollie Pop’s wallpapers featuring their cartoon spokesperson, Johnny Pop. The advertising does not leap out and bite you. As advertising to kids goes, it pretty much passes muster until one clicks on Free Stuff —> Giveaways. Tucked elsewhere and not at the registration point, Ollie Pop’s privacy statement reveals:

We sometimes share the personal information you provide with companies not owned or affiliated with Ollie Pop who want to market products or services to you. If you want us to stop using the personal information you provided in this way, please contact us at sales@olliepop.com.

Tell me. What kid, even if restricted to those over thirteen years old, will bother to read that–if they see it at all–before quickly giving up their e-mail address in hopes of winning an undisclosed prize? Parents, are you paying attention?

Ollie Pop logo 01

Chris Lambert, 5-0 backside grind image