Laugh When You Fall

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Photo credit: Wayne Hile One recent Sunday afternoon, the unthinkable happened: I stumbled and fell onstage in front of a large audience. I felt humiliated. Embarrassed. Foolish. But I recovered by owning my mistake with a laugh instead of pretending nothing happened. For context: on summer weekends, I am part of the ...

Keith Richards: The Old Man Keeps Growing

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Keith Richards is a crotchety old man. He hates new music. He gives the stink eye to some famous old music, too (he told Esquire that Sgt. Peppers was "rubbish"). He told Billboard recently that he seldom gets out anymore at age 71, and he ignores modern technology. But he's ...

Visual Storytelling in Today’s “All Access” Era

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Access. It's the most valuable currency of celebrity journalism. Photojournalists Bob Gruen and Ken Regan built celebrated careers by getting access to coveted rock stars such as Madonna, whom Ken Regan photographed as she was about to become a star. Regan, who passed away in 2012, was welcomed into the ...

How Louis Vuitton Appeals to Upscale Baby Boomers with Music

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Louis Vuitton knows how to target an audience with rock celebrities. The iconic luxury brand is working with another iconic brand, David Bowie, to produce the second television spot ever aired in the company's 160-year history. The ad, an installment in Louis Vuitton's "L'Invitation au Voyage" series, will feature the ...

It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll and Technology for the Rolling Stones

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

How do rock and roll bad boys stay relevant when they grow older and less dangerous? The Rolling Stones no longer symbolize youthful rebellion and decadence as they did 50 years ago. So like a smart business that refines its brand, the Stones now focus on one core asset: their rock ...

Getting a Life

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

The two people outside my family who read my blog regularly know that occasionally I find lessons for marketers from pop culture, especially music and books. I don't read books or listen to music in order to become a better marketer; rather, the learnings just come to me from what ...

Old bands, great brands shine in 2010

Friday, December 17th, 2010

There seems to be no end to the merchandising of so-called legacy rock stars, and 2010 was no exception: In February the ghost of Elvis returned to Las Vegas with the opening of Cirque du Soleil Viva ELVIS. The Rolling Stones owned the month of May with a heavily promoted re-issue of ...

Skip the ad? Skip the story

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Whoever complained about intrusive advertising hasn't read the May 2008 issue of Vanity Fair, where the advertising eclipses the content. If you need any convincing, I give you the opening sentences of a head-scratching cover profile of Madonna: "The world is a series of rooms, which are arranged like concentric ...