Saturday, July 26, 2008

If the Rolling Stones were a form of marketing...

This is a post I've been writing for the last few days and it's taken some thought and reflection to get this right...I hope! I've been wanting to talk more about different marketing channels and begin to develop a holistic interpretation of how each marketing medium operates in a comprehensive portfolio of communication options.

But then I got really into the Stones again. Every time '
Wild Horses' or 'Sweet Virginia' comes on my iPod I crank up the volume and wail along with Mick.

So let's mash things up (e.g. Kelly Clarkson vs. The Eagles). Ask yourselves, '
if each of the main members of the Rolling Stones was a marketing channel, what would they be?'

Bill Wyman - lead bassist, 1962 - 1993

I initially forgot Bill Wyman in this post, but was reminded that he should be included. Well, Wyman is not exactly top of mind among the Stones. Maybe it's his comparatively tame persona and characteristic level-headedness for the period during which he played with the band.

So i'm thinking that Bill Wyman should represent out-of-home advertising. Billboards, transit displays, and other forms of outdoor signage. Like Bill, out-of-home marketing is the oldest form of marketing. Although impactful, it's significance has waned in years as other, more tangible and interactive communication channels have captured a greater share of the consumer's attention.

While out-of-home ads can sometimes blend into the visual white noise of an urban landscape, highly eye-catching displays, usually in unconventional places, maintain the effectiveness of this communications channel at increasing brand awareness and driving customers. Think about urinal ads (NewAd) and the viewer's capivity. Or think about tunnel advertising in subways. Simple medium, with an innovative application.

Bill Wyman's contribution to the Stones was not overly perceptible, but his presence throughout the seminal years of their career gave a gravity and depth to the band's music. Like Bill Wyman, out-of-home advertising is always there, just sometimes you don't know it.

Keith Richards – lead guitarist, 1962 – present

Keith Richards is
experiential marketing.

This is also known as P2P (person to person) marketing because of its demonstrative and interactive potential. It's meant to establish a deep and tangible connection between a consumer and a brand. It's useful to communicate product launches where testing and usage is important as well as to refresh consumers with the brand.

Keith Richards is experiential marketing because without him, the Stones – the brand – would likely not have the appeal to fans that they do. His charisma and drug-addled charm is undeniable and fables about his character, including snorting his father's ashes cut with coke, only serve to deepen the relationship between you and the brand!

A highly visible frontman for highly tactile marketing. Keith rocks.

Charlie Watts – drummer, 1962 – present

Poor Charlie Watts. Sometimes he looks like death warmed up. Other times he looks quite stately and refined. He's got a real stoicism though which makes Charlie Watts like
print marketing.

Print. The printed word.

There's a timelessness to it that Charlie kinda embodies. It's tried and tested, dependable, and a good converter of consumers. Additionally, if your message cannot be easily explained on paper, then how can you explain it in a video commercial?

So what does this mean for Charlie Watts? Print, like the drummer who keeps the beat for the band, acts as the basic foundation of any campaign. The message is not embodied in the medium or the market. The message is the written values, the DNA of the ad.

Brian Jones – guitarist, 1962 – 1967

Brian Jones was influential and not without controversy. So it's only appropriate that he's
guerrilla marketing, the black sheep of the marketing family.

Brian Jones actually started the band with pianist Ian Stewart in 1962 and brought in Jagger and Richards. He strongly influenced the Stones early years and played on songs including Paint It Black, Under my Thumb, and Street Fighting Man. With Keith Richards, Jones developed the technique of guitar weaving with both guitarists playing simultaneous lead and rhythm roles. He was identifiable and outspoken, with a Carnaby Street style that so closely tied the Stones to the 60's British Invasion. But Jones burned himself out and died before his time, becoming a founding member of the 27 Club. In addition to Jones, this macabre tragedy has so far claimed Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin,
Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain, among others. I'm guessing Amy is next.

Jones was sloppy and innovative and experimented with different musical instruments and styles. It's appropriate to compare him to guerrilla marketing because despite the depth that he added to the Stones' sound, Jones wasn't essential. Guerrilla marketing is thought-provoking and highly visible, but it is also contentious and a somewhat unsustainable marketing medium.

The core of the Stones was the Jagger-Richards duocracy. Other members merely orbited this binary star.

Mick Taylor – guitarist, 1969 – 1974

Mick Taylor was a guitarist from 69-74, regarded as the Stones' most destructive and creative years. Great albums like Let it Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main St. attest to the musical juice running through the band at this time. Taylor was a highly skilled guitarist and brought a unique melodic sound to the Stones, influenced by his blues, latin, and jazz based musical schooling.

So reflecting on his short years with the band,
radio advertising seems to be an appropriate marketing medium to describe Taylor.

Like Taylor's role in the band, radio is often cast as a second-rate communications tool in favour of flashier, more high impact mediums. But radio is great for a local market, it's affordable, and it continues to be a competitive marketing medium even with the rise of newer technologies and alternative information sources.

Ronnie Wood – guitarist, 1975 – present

So, go with me on this one….Ronnie Wood is
online marketing (web and email).

Online. It's taken a while for online marketing to come into its own and shed its initial hype. Today, online represents a highly effective medium to target the right customers. Online ads are now standardized and have the opportunity to be more relevant to the consumer, while email has found a niche within the repertoire of other marketing mediums as a 'must–do' of any CRM program worth it's salt.

Ronnie Wood joined the Stones in 1975 from the Faces. He's grown considerably since and is now an integral member of the band. So like Ron Wood, let online marketing represent the timbre of good marketing meant to develop deeper relationships with consumers. The bass sets the tone of the song and online sets the tone for marketing with a brand's best consumers.

Mick Jagger – lead vocals, 1962 – present

What else could Mick Jagger possibly be aside from
television marketing?

Like tv, Mick is big, loud, and expensive. Like Mick, tv is mass, screaming, and ubiquitous. Just look at him, he's certainly not got an attractive face, but maybe it's the caricature of Mick that's so appealing. He really was made for television.

His on stage persona is obnoxious yet captivating and he's got tremendous energy for a sexagenarian (old guy). Superbowl commercials are a lot like Mick Jagger because they've got sizzle and are clever and get everyone talking.

For the perfect orgasm of Mick Jagger + Television, watch the Stones perform during the 2006 Superbowl Halftime Show. Go ahead and try not getting into it, it's impossible!

BTW, happy birthday Mick!


RoVer said...

Bill Wyman????

Max Billings said...

'Bill Wyman' - added at your suggestion!

Paul, Your Profit Coach said...

Very imaginative idea which I like a lot. It reminds me of my "business lessons from Led Zeppelin" post which I was thinking on extending.

"Dazed & Confused" - sounds like many of the TV commercials I see with high glitz but no commercial message while "Stairway To Heaven" is clearly an ode to the benefits of continual improvement and kaizen.

Josh and Eric @ said...

Interesting post.

Ronnie Wood's main instrument is guitar, not bass, btw.