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Author Topic: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?  (Read 5112 times)

DaveSilverberg

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What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« on: December 28, 2009, 06:06:28 PM »
This week, while watching the Lakers-Cavs game on NBC, I noticed two Sprite commercials promoting the upcoming slam dunk contest. What was intriguing about the spots? They used spoken word to convey the advertising message (by artists Marcus n Kessed). In my mind, this is the first time I've seen spoken word in commercials on a mainstream broadcast. I'm in Canada, remember, so maybe we don't get some of the stuff airing in the States.

Check them out here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmxkUitvAQg

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOl0a1OaN88&feature=related

Now, some may wonder whether spoken word used as a vehicle to sell sugar water and/or a sporting contest could be somewhat...disagreeable. There are other who may view it as spoken word's increasing relevance in pop culture, and its progression from a niche art form to one that is socially acceptable, perhaps even giving those hired artists a chance to make a living through spoken word.

What do you think? Do these Sprite commercials treat spoken word with the dignity it deserves? Do you find them distasteful? What would happen if a dozen commercials sprung up with poets getting paid to pump product? Perhaps it depends on the advertiser, or maybe it doesn't.
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TSPrunier

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Re: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2009, 11:58:25 PM »
Jim Henson's first muppets used to "pump product" in the 1950s. He later went on to create the Children's Television Workshop.

I agree that sugared beverages are not the best for human consumption, but I think it's more relevant to see spoken word become a larger part of the mainstream lexicon. It's not like they're selling tobacco products.

Anything by txtg, y'know?

Steve

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Re: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2009, 12:48:58 AM »
We have lost this battle long, long ago. It's time to climb down out of our own ivory tower. Have you seen "Slam" the energy drink commercials yet? I mean, why don't we have that contract?

playbackradio

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Re: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2009, 01:28:36 PM »
is the first clip Kel from Keenan and Kel?  I know Keenan is now on SNL, but I always wondered what happened to Kel.

As far as poets being used to push a mainstream product like Sprite or the slam dunk competition, it happens to all forms of art and expression.   I really can't hate on it too much, as long as those that are REALLY doing it know the truth and where the art is rooted.   It may be the first time someone is exposed to it and that's all they will ever know, but on the other hand, someone might see it for the first time and look further into it.   Yeah, I doubt that will happen, but you never know.


WilliamJames

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Re: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2009, 08:41:13 AM »
I'm not at all opposed to our art being exposed to more and more people; seems as though that's kind of the point anyway. I am a little curious though, will the average TV viewer see this and make the connection to the wide open world of spoken word, or just assume that the guy in the video is some hip hop artist doing his thing acapella?

I sometimes get the feeling that for a lot of the general populace, slam poets and spoken word artists kind of either stand in the shadow of, or get lumped in with hip-hop by default anyway. It's that, or when you say "spoken word" people start thinking "comedian." I certainly don't feel disrespected by these commercials, but I would definitely be interested to see if this campaign continues, will they dip into any of the other colors that we in the realm of 'spoken word' have on our palette?

jesster

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Re: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2009, 04:47:31 PM »
Big congrats to these guys! That's awesome!

-Jesster

Scott Woods

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Re: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2009, 05:43:28 PM »
(As someone who has vehemently debated this topic into the ground before...)

What is so pure and good about poetry that it can't be used in a commercial?

Jared Paul

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Re: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2010, 04:26:12 AM »

It comes down to personal choice.  And I guess, the type of stuff your work deals with.


I don't give my money to Sprite or Coca Cola.  They are shitbag corporations responsible for the murder of union workers, unforgivable worker exploitation, and limitless, unnecessary environmental abuse.

I don't give them my money and I publicly spit on their name, so it would be ridiculous of me to take theirs.  They ain't exactly knocking down my door either.  LOL.

At any rate, it's not the same for somebody who doesn't have my beliefs to take whatever deal they put down.

One of my favorite emcees/Hip Hop acts of all time, Atmosphere, has gotten big and recently turned down offers from Sprite and from a large car company.

Sage got hit up by GM with an offer to fund an entire tour, and declined as well.

It comes down to personal choice/perspective.

I know Kessed personally.  We've been friends from BNV for many years now.

He's got his own business to handle, and his own way to do it.

More power to him.

But my shit ain't goin' for Nike.  Or Killer Coke.  Or any of these fuckers.

The fact that they want our shit is proof that we're getting stronger.

And we did it without them.

No disrespect either big Steve, but I'm not in any ivory tower.

It just comes down to personal choice and how you built your career, body of work, etc:
With the way I've done things?

I definitely can't get away with shaking the devils hand, then turn around and I say I'm only kiddin'.

It's a choice I made/make.  And I don't regret it.

Steve

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Re: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2010, 01:01:50 PM »
Jared,
I'd be willing to bet the entire proceeds of Mike McGee's next CD that I can find something wrong with some of the corporations you do spend your money on. A long time ago I went on a personal campaign against Shell Oil when they were deeply involved in apartheid (along with Coca Cola) in South Africa. I didn't forgive them when S. Africa became more democratic either. I stoically and relentlessly bought gas from others. Then I saw a list of corporate contributions to George W. Bush's 2004 campaign. ONLY Shell gave more to democrats than republicans. All the rest of big oil was in Big Republican pockets. What was I gonna do then? Walk to NPS? I contend it is impossible to find a pure corporation. Some ARE better than others. None is pure.

Jared Paul

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Re: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2010, 04:40:58 AM »
Jared,
I'd be willing to bet the entire proceeds of Mike McGee's next CD that I can find something wrong with some of the corporations you do spend your money on. A long time ago I went on a personal campaign against Shell Oil when they were deeply involved in apartheid (along with Coca Cola) in South Africa. I didn't forgive them when S. Africa became more democratic either. I stoically and relentlessly bought gas from others. Then I saw a list of corporate contributions to George W. Bush's 2004 campaign. ONLY Shell gave more to democrats than republicans. All the rest of big oil was in Big Republican pockets. What was I gonna do then? Walk to NPS? I contend it is impossible to find a pure corporation. Some ARE better than others. None is pure.

For sure: nobody bats a thousand.  I've worked hard to reduce my source and put myself in position to be giving my money to the worst companies as little as possible, and I'm satisfied that my choices put me drastically below what the equivalent of the national average would approximately be.   

But that's moot for this dialog because we're not talking about a dollar vote or the affect of our purchases here.  We're talking about TAKING money from the war/factory farm/prison/anti-worker/or enviro destruction machine for the right to use your art to sell their product.

It's not the same.

I'm not hatin' man, I'm just sayin'.  It's not a good analogy.  And at the end of the day, it comes down to personal choice.  And what your work is built on. 

I couldn't sell my shit to Sprite and maintain my name if I wanted to.  It'd be career suicide.  I'm not complaining; it's a good thing.  Kind of like anarchists getting facial tattoos as insurance against ever working a desk job.  I ain't scurred of desk jobs as long as it's for something worthwhile...  but I would expect my friends and supporters to full metal jacket me with a bar of soap in a pillow case if I ever sold ABC's For Roger to Sprite or Microsoft or Phillip Morris or Raytheon.

Steve

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Re: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2010, 09:01:34 AM »
Yep, same thing I said about Shell Oil. We don't disagree as much as some might think.

PSi is not high on any corporation's gift list anyway. Red Bull might be as close as Spoken Word comes and I don't drink bull pee either.

Ransacked

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Re: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2010, 02:17:52 PM »
What would happen if a dozen commercials sprung up with poets getting paid to pump product?

Advertising rarely attempts to (re)define what is cool or mainstream. Changing the zeitgeist is very hard even when that's all you're trying to do, and advertising is first and foremost trying to sell us something. The easier way to do that is to ally yourself with what is already cool. I can remember when Ray Charles was wildly popular for a short period in the early 1990's because of his Diet Pepsi "Uh-huh!" ads, but Ray Charles was already a lifetime member of the Coolest People Ever to Walk the Earth Club. That's the image Pepsi was paying to be associated with.

I don't think spoken word will get more popular due to advertising. I think spoken word is trickling into advertising because it's getting a little more popular.

As for the "spokespoet for E.V.I.L." notion:

Patronage of arts and culture has long been a fig-leaf for E.V.I.L., Inc. to atone for its sins. Andrew Carnegie built Carnegie Hall and a zillion libraries... while he paid private, Pinkerton detectives to shoot at striking workers.  The Medici Family lavished money and marketing clout on Michelangelo and Donatello... while stabbing and poisoning rival bankers and merchants.

Would life be better today if the Medici clan had a decent human-rights record and Michelangelo had died an obscure woodcutter, unable to afford those gigantic blocks of pure marble?

For sure: nobody bats a thousand.  I've worked hard to reduce my source and put myself in position to be giving my money to the worst companies as little as possible, and I'm satisfied that my choices put me drastically below what the equivalent of the national average would approximately be.   

I think Jared has the right mix of reality and idealism, here.

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Re: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2010, 02:22:03 PM »
Oh, also:

Theodore Seuss Geisel (later known as "Dr. Seuss") spent most of his twenties and thirties illustrating magazine ads for Flit brand insecticide. The crazy bugs and monsters he drew became pop-culture icons during the Great Depression. Flit was a subsidiary of Standard Oil (later known as "Exxon") (later still known as "you fuckers!"). So there's an example of an E.V.I.L. corporation using a poet in their advertising. But I should note that:

1. Standard Oil wasn't asking Geisel to be their spokespoet. They just liked his insect drawings. It would be years before Dr. Seuss published any books.
2. Dr. Seuss would have made a terrible slam poet. Trust me.

TSPrunier

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Re: What do you think about spoken word in TV commercials?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2010, 08:47:58 AM »
Oh, also:

Theodore Seuss Geisel (later known as "Dr. Seuss") spent most of his twenties and thirties illustrating magazine ads for Flit brand insecticide. The crazy bugs and monsters he drew became pop-culture icons during the Great Depression. Flit was a subsidiary of Standard Oil (later known as "Exxon") (later still known as "you fuckers!"). So there's an example of an E.V.I.L. corporation using a poet in their advertising. But I should note that:

1. Standard Oil wasn't asking Geisel to be their spokespoet. They just liked his insect drawings. It would be years before Dr. Seuss published any books.
2. Dr. Seuss would have made a terrible slam poet. Trust me.

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