Hip-Hop, the Right to Privacy and Sour Patch Kids
No one would argue that our modern world isn’t saturated with advertisements. Walk down the street, turn on the TV, go on a computer and everything is commercial.
But as you can tell, the world of advertising, especially Internet advertising, is morphing. The days of Tampax ads on ESPN.com and Wrangler commercials on TMZ are over. Information is too readily available on the Internet, which means companies can advertise directly to likely costumers.
In some ways, this fact is horrifying. The distrustful and fearful nostalgic in me is repulsed by the idea of Big Brother knowing my preference of toilet paper. I think the right to privacy is one of the most important and most abused of our civil liberties.
But, then again, there is a part of me that favors realism to idealism. I hate to break it to you, but the government, and a whole hell of a lot of other people, can see just about everything you’ve been up to on the good ol’ interweb.
There was a time when I was disgusted by this reality, but my feelings have softened in the last year or so. I still believe in the right to privacy, and I’m not willing to give it away so the government can fight supposed “terrorists.” But I am realistic enough to know that this battle has already been lost. So as long as my privacy is gone, I’d rather not be the emperor in his new clothes. Instead, I do most of my private communications in the only secure mediums I know of: body language and telepathic utterance.
But there is one draw to the 1984-like state of our personal privacy: incredibly relevant endorsements. Which is why, in this era when my Pandora stations know me to be a cheap bastard and play exclusively Google Offers plugs, I was shocked to see the new Sour Patch Kids video game commercial, which initially struck me as mistargeted advertising.
Method Man, aka Johnny Blaze, aka Iron Lung, recently released a music video called “World Gone Sour (The Lost Kids),” a promo for the new Sour Patch Kid video game with the same name.
I was surprised that a candy company would hire a rapper whose upcoming album is titled Crystal Meth to sell its product. I thought it must be a mistake; that no company that targets sale to kids would enlist a Wu Tang member as its spokesman.
But then I listened to the song three or four more times. And then I went out and bought some Sour Patch Kids. And then, after enjoying the whole pack and recuperating from the inevitable sour candy stomachache, I began to think about how well thought out this advertising campaign really is.
Teenagers and young adults love hip-hop, still eat lots of candy and have money to burn. Why wouldn’t a company hire a rapper with some real cred to sell their brand to this huge market? And why wouldn’t Method Man be glad to do it?
It’s not as if making this ad means Meth sold out. Who doesn’t love Sour Patch Kids? And more importantly, who doesn’t love this song? (It’s sad for me to write this, but this track is leaps and bounds ahead of most of the hip-hop on the Billboard Top 40 list – sorry Flo Rida – and it is about candy gone wild. What the hell has happened to the rap game?)
I think rappers should tread lightly in the world of advertising; street cred is rap game social currency. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with what Method Man did. When you are as talented and as proven as Mr. Man, you can sell products without soiling your name. And Sour Patch Kids isn’t Kodak; Biggie, Snoop and Nate Dogg have already proven that if the commercial and the product are rap-enthusiast-friendly, the rapper actually can benefit from an endorsement.
So, to save some time for the advertising agencies that are already tapping my Facebook and WordPress accounts, I want more commercials like this one. And to Method Man: keep on reppin’ the Sour Patch Kids; I never knew those colorful little guys were so hard until you told us, “They break laws, not jawbreakers, they break jaws.”
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