I guess it was about 4:30 am
and I was sitting on the couch in the family room switching back and forth between VH1 and MTV. Yes, this is what happens when I can't sleep at night. I go downstirs as quietly as possible (so as not to wake the girls) and get a glass of water, then try to think about nothing... but thinking about nothing is that much harder when you're trying to think about nothing. Anyway, on with my story.
So I'm watching VH1 and the new Red Hot Chili Peppers
video for their new song "Tell Me Baby" comes on. The scene is a small room, probably no more than 25 ft wide by maybe 30 ft deep. It has black soundproof walls, cheap acoustic tile ceilings (if you're sitting at a job in corporate America somewhere just look directly above your head and you'll know the type of ceiling I'm talking about). Then one after another, aspiring musicians of all ages, start telling the camera why they came to California... The director tries to get you a bit jaded by showing the guy in his late thirties with a mullet that says the music industry handed his butt to him, and then a woman in her late 20's early 30's comes on saying the same thing. Just to keep things interesting they throw in one or two young dudes that are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed who haven't let go of their dreams but have no clue they're being mocked in the video.
So at this point I'm like, this is ridiculous, RHCP is ragging on these average people who had a dream and the dream has pretty much been crushed - that's not cool! And that's when I realized I followed the exact stream of consciousness the director and the band wanted me to follow.
Because then, one after the other, each of these aspiring rock stars of all ages, shapes and sizes get to jam with the Chili Peppers... the look on their faces is priceless. And then you realize that the band hasn't gotten too big for it's britches and that they're the same old rag tag bunch of dudes that look really funky, love California and love making music. At the end of the video, every one of these average people is in the frame and they're all jamming at the same time, it's a great feel good moment.So What Does This Have To Do With Social Philanthropy or Marketing?
Well, a lot. The Chili Peppers are giving back
to those that had a dream and took a shot at it and failed. They're saying thanks for the support you've given us and we want to include you in the video because we were there once. That's pretty cool if you ask me. It's also a fantastic way for a band
to connect with their audience, especially in the PR crazed internet / MySpace fanclub
climate we're currently in.The Red Hot Chili Peppers Brand
Okay so this may seem like a bit of a stretch but there is a great lesson for all aspiring entrepreneurs, musicians, marketers and anyone else interested in being successful as a person or brand. RHCP is staying close to their target market, people of all ages that have an eclectic taste in music. Those that also have an affinity for California earn bonus points with the band. These guys aren't trying to be Madonna and change their style just to stay on top of the latest trends. No, they have the same style they've always had but it just sounds differently and because we're humans we feel like we have to put a label on it but their true fans know it's just the Chili Peppers' sound that that's it.
By staying true to themselves they've created a brand image that is easily identifiable by only those they want to listen to their music. Their passion for life and especially music comes out in every song. Now I'll admit, I personally think Anthony Kiedis
sounds terrible in concert and that he must spend a lot of time in the studio recording vocals... yet I'm still drawn to his band's music... that's powerful branding.
If you want to help the band's brand out you can vote
for their video in this year's VMA's.