You know that old question of ‘What kind of music will our children listen to’, which is swiftly followed by thoughts of the most awful, tasteless, lazy music we can fathom? Well, I think we now might have the first sample of this next wave of music. Labelled ‘branded entertainment’, the music combines the best (worst) of advertising and pop music.
McDonalds teamed up with X-Factor for the track Getting Serious, which explains the high-production value of the video, that and the bleedingly obvious attempt to chase the viral dragon. The song features last year’s X-Factor finalist Johnny Ruffo as well as contestants from this year’s show singing the song that hovers between really shitty jingle and really shitty single.
The faux R&B vibe of the track, mixed with some cheap ass dance beats and tacky auto-tune also features pro-McDonalds’ lyrics such as ‘I want to hold you with both hands and put my lips on you’ and ‘I had my eyes on a prize. A Maccas lamb burger and a fries on the side’, as well as using burgers as a way to describe women. They don’t even seem too bothered by that, as X-Factor launched a competition through their site where contestants must enter their favourite quote from the song.
According to Mumbrella, Joanne Liddel – head of OMD Fuse Sydney, a communications agency of whom McDonalds is a client – stated: “Like The X Factor show, McDonald’s has a broad family appeal and is not afraid to have fun! This is exactly what we’ve done with Johnny’s ‘Gettin’ Serious’ song, it’s tongue-in-cheek, high energy with a high production music video that we believe will entertain The X Factor audience.”
She further added that “following the unprecedented success of last year’s ‘Back by Popular Demand’ campaign, it was vital we evolved McDonald’s established sponsorship of the show with engaging and consumer focused content”.
We can’t say it’s anything new. The line between advertisement and video clip was blurred long ago. What is new, however, is how open they are with the fact that they are clearly using the current hype around tween-orientated music to sell lamb burgers to the low-hanging fruit demographic that is Gen Y. They don’t even feel the need to be sneaky about it anymore. That’s how easy we’ve become.