Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Forget Demographics

Adele19 Album CoverWatching music videos is a lesson in mass marketing. Producers know how to blend universally appealing elements and at the same time, maintain individual artist branding. I am intrigued when I remember to turn on VH1. In an hour I get a sample of the latest and greatest high-value visual styling techniques. However, trying to assess the audience demographics for each artist/style/sound/message is like tracking an ant through a cornfield. There always seems to be an ingredient in each video that guarantees wide appeal.

Leona Lewis' voice in "Bleeding Love" is impossible to get out of anyone's head. Just watching her sing is spellbinding, so the video story is insignificant. The director wisely doesn’t make too much of it. Madonna's superelastic workout with Timberlake while Timbaland supervises is "4 Minutes" to make everyone feel it’s time to get their butt to the gym. Lenny Kravitz' message in "Love Love Love" is one we all need to hear daily. The director uses retro-colors and a mirror effect that drives Lenny’s point through the plasma into every home.

Country joins hard rock as Tim McGraw and Def Leppard survive more than "Nine Lives" showing off their superhero energy on a roaring and skillfully edited stage show video. Anyone watching can imagine a backstage pass thrill. And nineteen-year-old Adele weaves in so many nostalgic visual and auditory notes (that Etta James influence is killer) that she likely won't be "Chasing Pavements" but will be running from venue to venue. No doubt she’ll be attracting every demographic bracket.