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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Island Def Jam Sinks To New Low

I'm not so sure if this smacks of desperation or it's just another lame-brained label scheme, but Island Def Jam will include advertising on the upcoming Mariah Carey CD "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel."

The CD, to be released on Sept. 15th, features a 34-page mini-magazine co-produced with Elle that will include the usual liner notes and lyrics along with ads from Elizabeth Arden, Angel Champagne, Carmen Steffen's, Le Métier de Beauté and the Bahamas Board of Tourism. If things go well, it's reported that Island Def Jam hopes to do similar booklet deals for Rihanna, Bon Jovi, Kanye West and others.

As an extension of the program, WalMart will supposedly merchandise Carey's new CD alongside her signature Arden fragrance (who have an ad in the CD booklet) just outside the music aisle, and intends to display them together in the beauty department (boy, I'm sure that'll really boost sales).

One of the follies of this particular campaign is assuming that the people that purchase the CD will be able to afford or even care about the luxury products being advertised. The advertisers chosen just make it look like a straight money grab by the label (which it is anyway).

Perhaps this scheme will work and even be welcomed by Mariah's fans, but you can bet that a lot of music fans will take a personal offense to this kind of blatant co-branding if it threatens to become the norm. Adverts so closely tied to the music violates the trust and bond that an artist works so hard to develop with her fans in Music 3.0. The artist is the one and only brand that the true fan cares about, and co-branding generally cheapens that experience.

While I applaud the label for thinking outside the box (sorta), music co-branding hasn't really been a big winner before in the eyes of the consumer. I can't image that Mariah's package will find a different result.

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