Promotion of brands in songs is nothing new, and it has been an in thing to do. Either brand(s) is placed in the middle of the song or mentioned in the song lyrics. Here, we talk about the latter one. With progressive time, the strategy seems to have got bigger and bolder. But how did it all start? History says the American Singer-Songwriter Billy Joel was one of the few musicians to do this with his song “Keeping the Faith” in 1983. As the lyrics read “Take a fresh pack of Luckies and a mint called Sen-Sen. My old man’s Trojans and his Old Spice aftershave”, four product brand names have been mentioned “Lucky Strike cigarettes”, “Trojan condoms”, “Old Spice aftershave” and “Sen-Sen mint”.

That’s how an artist’s lyrics started getting colored, and brands benefitted in return. In the past couple of years, the songs that have been making their way to the Billboard’s top 10 list are the ones that unabashedly mention brands as lyrics. Let’s highlight those instances which proved sure shot win-win collaboration for both the parties:

1. Busta Rhymes – Pass the Courvoisier

Busta Rhymes’s hit single “Pass the Courvoisier” in 2001 and the remix of the same song performed by Pharrell Williams, P Diddy and Busta Rhymes in 2002 resulted in the rise of Cognac’s sales from 10% to 20% respectively.

2. Pitbull – Fireball

This is a classic example of a saying “The power of a brand lies in its name”. The cinnamon-flavoured whiskey Fireball is in fact nowhere featured in the music video. However, the whiskey brand benefitted from the rapper Pitbull’s 2014 song of the same name.

3. Beyonce – Red Lobster

If not yet, it’s time you pay a good attention to the lyrics of Beyonce’s “Formation”. Erica Ettori as the spokesperson of Red Lobster shared the news that company’s sales increased after “Red Lobster” being mentioned in the song. The company’s name was also trending on Twitter for the first time.

4. Zandu Balm – Munni Badnaam Hui

Indian film and music Industry is no alien to such brand promotional strategy. The chartbuster number “Munni Badnaam Hui” from the film Dabangg in 2010 playfully used the name Emami’s “Zandu Balm” in the song. The company had no formal tie-up with the makers. However, the mention of “Zandu Balm” surprisingly resulted into doubling the sales of the product. The success was so phenomenal that Emami later cashed in the lead dancer in the music video “Malaika Arora Khan” as the Brand Ambassador of the Zandu Balm.


5. Fevicol – Fevicol Se

Anticipating the same level of response, Pidilite with its product “Fevicol” made a formal tie-up with Dabangg 2 in 2012. The film gave a major ground to the brand by composing a blockbuster song with the same name “Fevicol Se”. As a result, the song was flooded with Thumbs-Ups by the entire nation. With a dozen other brands being featured in the film, Fevicol stood out and benefitted the most.

6. Punjabi Music Industry

Punjabi Music industry

Another set of music artists who are keeping up with the trend are Punjabi musicians. More than a brand’s promotion and formal tie-ups, the mention of brand names in their lyrics is more of expressing the love for high-end International brands in Punjab and showcasing their branded lifestyles. Gucci, Prada, Rolex, Jimmy Choo and Armani bag the maximum space in Punjabi pop-rap songs. Moreover, songs by these artists intrigue interest among the listeners to know the brand and buy their products. Rapper-Composer Honey Singh is the most popular and widely known Punjabi artist who swears by mentioning brands such as Gucci, LV, Prada, Malibu and more in his compositions.

Do you know any similar events like these? Has any song lyrics introduced you to a brand and instantly evoked an urge to buy that brand’s product?

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