Ad-man bullshit in my backyard

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I've been meaning to write something like this ever since I unknowingly paid to be on an ad shoot set run by cunts here:

The reason I've held off is because, painfully, writing this just feeds the ad machine even more. Fuck it.

This is about advertising and where it intersects with more grassroots culture, especially around me. My example, both from that show and in this post, is Vice Magazine and their ad agency Virtue. 

Vice magazine, through their agency Virtue - doublespeak at its finest there - do this: "We help global brands find new ways of communicating with the world's youth. " So lets be clear what VICE Media actually do. They gained a huge audience of young people who shun the mainstream media and cannot be accessed easily by corporate giants via their edgy writing and imagery. Then they created Virtue and said, hey, we got 'em, now we'll take your money and help you to sell to this previously hard to crack bunch. Not only is that disgusting in principle, but they go on to use all the latest underhand methods to do said selling.

This brings us to Noisey and The Creators Project, both of which they operate in China and it was Noisey that was set up in the show that day. They call Noisey their 'music portal' but both those projects are there for the purpose of advertising, no matter how softly, their clients. They are no different in purpose to any pop up on the net or crass ad on TV. In this case the clients are Dell and Intel, at least in China where I have come into contact with them. These are adverts and the people doing the 'projects' are salesman.' That is all. 

Now, there are two main ways of thinking about this and I will present an alternate to my own view, to be rational and fair. And I'm talking about art or songs that were firstly created as an independent work and were later approached for inclusion in an ad. Firstly, you may be of the opinion that mercenary advertising for a client using your art or material cheapens what you do and breaks the trust with your audience - and that the whole sales business is crass and best avoided. But, you may also be of the opinion that it's fine, normal and maybe even a viable new model for the music scene to generate revenue. 

In the first case: you should see the Virtue projects for what they are and shun them completely. Do not put your videos on their site, do not invite them to your shows, do not participate in their events. Fuck them.

In the second case, there is also an issue. If you participate in Noisey you are doing professional advertising work for Intel/Dell and one of the biggest media groups in the world. You should be paid. Not only should you be paid, you should be paid a fair share of the projected revenue of the ad campaign and/or project budget. Don't think for a second that those projections and numbers have not been meticulously worked out prior to said campaign. You need to have access to those figures when you cut your deal and you need legal representation too. If your work is on their site for free or some tiny fee, you are being exploited ruthlessly by terrible people. 

In either scenario, artists need to know their facts, be clear what they are dealing with, and stick up for themselves.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy Best published on March 25, 2013 1:27 AM.

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