Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Commercial Culture

I don’t know much about politics, but do know something about pop-culture. Big name artists and big name companies are constantly pairing up to promote a certain message or agenda. It’s the oldest trick in advertising. It’s not about how you really feel, but how you’re supposed to feel, not what you actually think, but what you should think. I recently saw Nicki Minaj’s new add for Pepsi. “Live for Now” underscores Pepsi’s attempt at re-associating itself with pop-culture. The ad is essentially convincing us that drinking Pepsi will allow you to do exactly what the title says, live for now. The couple in the ad has magically frozen time by drinking Pepsi, and can therefore fully enjoy the Nicki Minaj concert. 
What if the future of classical music is in the hands of the ad agencies? I was shocked when a Korean car company used “Sonata” for a model name. Maybe car ads are the saving grace of a style of music that’s gradually disappearing. Mozart’s Piano Sonata in B-flat Major was used for a Hyundai Sonata ad, and Audi used Ravel’s sparkling “Jeux d’eau”. Of course we expect them to use the Beatles and Rolling Stones to promote car sales. But Mozart? And Wagner? And Grieg? Perhaps the big bad ad agencies and the commercial culture we live in are actually helping to preserve and promote the same classical music that I value and love. 

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