There is an interesting discussion on the 37signals.com blog  about a Nike commercial using a song by Saul Williams– activist, poet and musician. The song, “List of Demands” was used to enhance their messaging about their newest product/idea/brand.

The term “selling out” has been around for a long time. Wikipedia (the bastion of accuracy) offers this definition: Selling out refers to the compromising of one’s integrity, morality and principles in exchange for money, ‘success’ or other personal gain.

I guess I have a bit of a problem with this term in general. Why should artists; musicians, photographers, painters, poets, etc, have to choose between obscurity and exposure? Why are they ridiculed for wanting to make enough money to sustain their ability to make art?

I discovered some of my favorite music artists because of hearing them on a commercial or movie. I guess this makes me a big supporter of sell outs.

As a business, you market your product, you do your best to expose your brand. You place commercials and ads to make as wide of an impression as possible. You do everything in your power to bring people information on why they should give your company their business.

So why is a painter or photographer or songwriter any different than your local coffee shop or … Nike?

Williams says: “I received a lot of questions from some about why I would allow my song ‘List of Demands’ to be used in a Nike campaign. Ironically, half of the people now reading this post never heard of me until that commercial aired. That, indeed, was one of my reasons for allowing it.”

While I’m not a huge fan of Williams music, I found the music and the ad compelling together. And good for him for finding a way to get his message to a larger group of people.

That’s good marketing and good business.

‘Chelle Parmele
Social Media Marketing Manager
Palo Alto Software

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