Yesterday I was reading my new issue of Sports Illustrated on the subway (one of my favorite New York City time-killing pastimes), and came across an ad for Zune, Microsoft’s answer to iTunes.
(right: Some marketing guru is wetting his pants now, cause I’m lovin’ artists on both pages of this ad.)
The two-page spread features various three dimensional band names (in all different types of fonts) stacked on top of each other. The ad is nothing groundbreaking, considering iTunes had a similar campaign a year or so ago with hundreds of album covers exploding from an iPod.
Whenever I see an ad like this the first thing I do is look for the Beastie Boys (just want to make sure the ad agency is representin’). The next thing I’ll do is to make sure the advertisers are on top of their music game. It’d be easy to list off a Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Nirvana. For the hip factor, it also wouldn’t take much research to add an Arcade Fire or White Stripes to the layout.
Yesterday, however, this Zune ad spoke to me. I don’t know who came up with the list? Maybe it was comprised from a group of lists that was gathered through market research and focus group surveys. Whatever the case, some of my favorite musical acts were splattered throughout the ad (I hope to God some ad executive isn’t reading this right now and thinking, “Got’cha, that’s what the ad was supposed to do”).
The Beastie Boys were a must, but the large “SAUL WILLIAMS” (center of page) was also a very nice, unexpected touch, since most of the time you can’t even find a Saul Williams album in a record store. I was happy to see Sons and Daughters with the tiny little shout-out (right about Nas), and Artic Monkeys and Hot Chip (far right) are two of my favorite acts of the last couple years. Daft Punk is sort of a gimme, especially since Kanye had the big single with them last year, nevertheless it was a nice addition. I was also glad to see Gogol Bordello (right of center), Jem (left of center), and MSTRKRFT (bottom right) shouted-out in the ad.
My biggest surprise, and proof that whoever worked on this ad is probably a fan of the Beastie Boys, was the inclusion of frequent Beastie collaborator Biz Markie (under Robyn, above Dido) and the name that blew my mind, the B-Boys’ keyboardist extraordinaire, Money Mark (right above the tagline: Instant Music Collection). No diss on Money Mark, but if you have a hundred or so names to promote your digital music service, chances are you’re going to use Jay-Z, Vampire Weekend, or Madonna before you even think of pulling out the “Money Mark.”
I’m not going to buy a Zune anytime soon, but I just may become friends with the person who laid out this advertisement.