Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Gucci Lip Gloss/Louis Vuitton/And the Boots from Batego Vanetto Cost a Arm

Top ten brands:

1. Mercedes-Benz
2. Nike
3. Cadillac
4. Bentley
5. Rolls-Royce
6. Hennessy
7. Chevrolet
8. Louis Vuitton/Cristal (tie)
10. AK-47
(cnn.com)

I was very glad this morning to find this list of 2005's top 10 name-dropped products in songs that hit the Billboard Top 20. You can learn a lot from a list like this, too, like that there aren't a lot of references to, say, Brawny brand paper-towels. Just like there aren't a lot of white people on the Billboard Top 20.

I am sorry to see Cadillac drop to number 3 (from a former status as number 1), especially because Nike? Kind of boring, rap. At least be specific, like "Nike Lime-Green Aquasocks" or something. Yes, in 2006 I would like to see "Nike Lime-Green Aquasocks" receive their proper status on this list.

The list also fails to take into account the prominence of generic brand luxury items, like gators and fo-fo's. Surely companies like CVS and Target can explain to you the highly-enticing economics of generic brand items.

Beretta fans will be happy to know that their handgun of choice has made it onto the extended list at #13, but before you get too excited Beretta Heads (that's what cutting edge market researchers call you), I'd like you to remember that Berettas are featured rather prominently in the R. Kelly "Trapped in the Closet" Hip Hopera, and the brand could dramatically lose popularity as early as next year (Need I remind you what happened to Courvoisier after "Pass the Courvoisier" dropped from heavy rotation?)

All in all, though, it was a perfectly good year for product name-dropping. But you know what, rappers? You have a responsibility as role models to your primarily youthful audience. In 2006, let's see a few socially responsible brands make it up there. I'm not saying total overhaul of the tried-and-true favorites, but token gestures in popular culture can often have beneficial effects that far outweigh the time or effort put into making them. So, let's see Trojan brand spermicidal-lubricant condoms in the top 3, and Fair Trade coffee beans somewhere in there?

Word to your mom.

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