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Grammy Awards reveal the power of branding. So who were the winners and losers?


There is no greater exercise in commercial branding than the Grammy Awards. So which brands were the winners and losers at this year’s Grammys?

Watching the Grammys recently, I couldn’t help but marvel at the cross-section of brands on display. And no, I’m not talking about the gratuitous iPad product placement in the opening sequence. Although that was a great marketing coup, for sure.

No, what I’m talking about is the bands and artists who strutted their stuff throughout the evening. They all had a few minutes of airtime, going out to an estimated 26 million people — a lazy nine million more than watched the Golden Globes! OK, so it’s not exactly the Superbowl — that drew a whopping 100 million viewers this year and looks like taking the crown as the most watched TV program ever from the MASH finale way back in 1983 — but the opportunity to promote something to 26 million people worldwide isn’t anything to sneeze at.

So how did the bands and brands measure up?

I’d give Brand Michael Jackson about an 8 or 9 out of 10. Admittedly, he wasn’t on hand personally — as his daughter Paris so eloquently put it, “Daddy was supposed to be here. Daddy was gonna perform this year but he couldn’t perform last year. Thank you.” — but his brand is looking better than it has in a long time. It seems now he’s gone, almost all is forgiven. Funny how forgiving the press can be, sometimes. Although you have to wonder how many more Greatest Hits collections they can put out.

Brand Taylor Swift took a bit of a hit with more than a few wonky notes during her live performance. Not even singing with Stevie Nicks (who in the past has been so wasted she had to be pointed in the direction of the microphone) saved her credibility. Not that she’ll be too worried about that as she polishes her best album Grammy. Presumably, when she’s old enough to drink, she’ll celebrate the win big time. 7/10 at best for Brand Swift.

The Black Eyed Peas might have had one of the best pop songs of 2009 with ‘I’ve got a Feeling’, but personally, I’ve got a feeling Fergie couldn’t sing to save her life. Other than yelling out ‘mazel tov!’ at about the right time, the only right notes she hit seemed little more than a happy coincidence. She’d be lucky to get past the first round of auditions on American Idol. 2/10 I’m afraid.

I’m still not quite sure how to rate the Zac Brown Band Brand because the truth is, I’ve never heard of them. But to be fair, I have now, so I guess that’s a giant step forward for their brand. 6/10.

Lady Ga Ga was… well, Lady Ga Ga. She put in a solid 8 out of 10 for continuing her own brand of kookiness. Ziggy Stardust would be proud. Brand Beyonce was also in fine form, earning herself a 7.5/10. Although I definitely would have given her bonus points if she’d gone arse-up when she momentarily lost her footing during her performance. And Green Day, who I love, get a 7/10 despite going all a bit Meat Loaf, performing with the cast of their, ah, Broadway Musical. Yes, really.

Then, of course, there was P!nk. Even if you’re one of the four people who didn’t see her live during her last Australian tour you’ll be aware she puts on an amazing live show and her Grammy performance was no exception. How she’s going to top spinning around while hanging upside down 60 feet from the ground without missing a note is beyond me. I can only imagine what’s next for her. Perhaps a magic style show where she’s cut in half, wrapped in chains and submerged in a tank of water – all the while singing as she escapes. 9.5/10 (And only because I’m always reluctant to give the perfect score.)

As for the Grammys themselves? Perhaps a 7 or 8 out of 10 for my mind. They lose points for cutting off a few speeches — how rude! — and I’m still trying to work out why they forced the stars to don those dodgy old red and blue cardboard 3D specs, when even I can pick up a decent plastic pair with the grey lenses at the local Hoyts for about a buck. I mean, come on, what were they thinking?

Sputnik is an internationally awarded creative and brand consultant at Out of this World where he has worked on projects for some of the world’s biggest brands, including Unilever and Disney.

Photo: PVBroadz

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