July 29, 2014

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett release the first single from Cheek to Cheek

The single cover.      ...yes, seriously.
Photo by Steven Klein

We've been hearing a lot lately about Lady Gaga's upcoming album with Tony Bennett, called "Cheek to Cheek". Gaga and Tony were in New York Monday night filming a "live" concert set to air October 24th 2014 to promote the album.

At midnight (New York time) they released the first single from the album, the Cole Porter classic "Anything Goes".

Gaga claims to have been singing jazz since 13 years of age (is there anything she hasn't "done"? No, really, is there?) and claims recording jazz is easier than recording pop.
“You know, it’s funny, but jazz comes a little more comfortable for me than pop music, than R&B music,” Gaga said in an interview Monday. “I’ve sang jazz since I was 13 years old, which is kind of like my little secret that Tony found out. So this is almost easier for me than anything else.”
Here's a link to the song on Soundcloud:

More info here.


Oh, P.S.
Who thinks this will be the new Lady Gaga "derp" face?

July 18, 2014

Gay men are no longer going gaga for Lady Gaga

At least according to a study conducted by brand expert Jeetendr Sehdev.

In a survey of approximately 3,000 responders for Variety, Ellen DeGeneres was rated as the most favored celebrity among gay males, and Lady Gaga was rated as one of the least.


"Of course they like Ellen," you may say, "she's openly gay!"

But it turns out that there's a lot more to it than that. Gay men aren't choosing Ellen as their favorite celebrity simply because she's gay. According to the study, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, Sandra Bullock, and Johnny Depp also rank among the most admired, and all of them are or have been known to be entirely heterosexual. 

So what factors into the ranking, if it doesn't seem to have to do with sexual orientation at all?

Probably the same thing that factors into their purchase preferences. Gay males ranked Ellen's CoverGirl campaign the best out of 40 other celebrity advertisement campaigns. The study showed that they preferred endorsements from celebrities that are (or seem) "genuine, honest, trustworthy, intelligent and reliable".

This is important for advertisers, because according to Variety, in 2013 the LGBT adult demographic had a buying power of about $800 billion.

Guess we'll be seeing more of Ellen in upcoming years!

Oh, wait.... I thought Gaga was the one schooling marketers?

Source: Variety

July 16, 2014

Is Lady Gaga really "schooling marketers"?

 Lady Gaga tweeted a link to an article today published by Forbes.

The article can be found here: Lady Gaga Is Still Schooling Marketers

Nice title! But is Gaga really "schooling marketers"?

I read the article, and I don't personally see how it demonstrates that the Lady Gaga "brand" is teaching marketers anything at all. To me it read more like a fluff piece promoting her show than anything else.

I've taken the time to analyze the article below, so please enjoy and as always let me know what you think!


The opening line: 
"Lady Gaga might not be dominating the headlines and airwaves as she has in years past, but she still has plenty of marketing smarts for marketers to learn from."  
What I like about this opening line is the fact that the writer, Yohn, actually acknowledges Gaga's declining popularity. There's nothing I hate more than a biased piece that refuses to admit that she's not on top anymore. The writer is basically saying here that despite her waning popularity, Gaga still has something to offer marketers.

Fair enough. Maybe she does. Let's see what Yohn has to say.

Yohn is using Gaga's latest tour artRAVE as a basis for her demonstration of Gaga's marketing skills, saying:
"The concerts are sensory-overload spectacles, gaudy gigs — and breakthrough brand experiences."
It sounds like she's saying that Gaga is offering something unique that's never been done before, which is an interesting and pretty bold statement.
"Lady Gaga changes costumes at least six times over the course of the two-hour concert, demonstrating the power of continuous innovation in experience design."
Wait a minute, can we take a sidebar right here?

"Two-hour concert"? According to a reporter live tweeting the show, in Toronto she was only on stage from 9:30pm to 11:10pm. That's hardly a two-hour concert. Gaga doesn't change the show much from place to place, and I may be wrong in saying this, but I don't think she is on stage for two hours for any of her shows.

Gaga playing "Born This Way" at the artRAVE
Is this a big deal? I don't know. If you were expecting a show to last two hours, would it bother you if it was an hour and forty minutes instead? Including costume changes and the break between the show and the encore, I'd guess that she's really on stage for about an hour and a half.

Anyway, for the purpose of this article, the length of time that she's on stage isn't important. So let's forget about that and keep going. Where were we? Oh, right. Yohn is going to tell us about how Gaga's six or more costume changes demonstrate "innovative experience design".
"As a concertgoer, you’re constantly looking forward to what outfit she’s going to show up in next – the anticipation and ensuing novelty hold your attention. Brands should aim to bring a similar degree of innovation, diversity, and new-ness to their customer experiences."
I don't know about anyone else, but when I go to a concert I don't really think about what the performer is wearing. It's great to see a nice outfit, but I personally focus on the show itself: the music, the charisma of the performer, the way he/she interacts with the audience, his/her skill at singing, dancing, or playing their instrument, the screens, the set...

Sorry, Yohn... but not everyone is drooling with anticipation for costume changes during a concert, and even if they are, so what? How does Gaga changing costumes multiple times during her show teach marketers about marketing? You don't explain this. How does it demonstrate innovation, diversity, and "new-ness"? You don't explain this, either.
"Instead of thinking of your store as a static setting, consider how to make it more of a working stage. Instead of locking in your website design, logo, visual images, and avatars, think about how to refresh them frequently enough to attract and keep people’s attention."
Basically Yohn is saying to marketers: change things up, don't be stagnant, keep up with the times. Great idea! But how does freshening up your brand relate to multiple costume changes in a pop show? More specifically, how does this demonstrate Gaga's "breakthrough brand experience"? What pop singer doesn't change their outfit multiple times during their show? Seriously. Name a modern female pop act where the performer doesn't change outfits during her show. I'll wait. 


Oh, can't come up with one? That's because it's the norm. Gaga changing outfits during her pop show does not demonstrate anything new to marketers that they don't already know, and definitely doesn't demonstrate that Gaga is bringing something new to the table in the world of pop. If brands and marketers didn't know to change things up when consumers got bored, then this type of BOLD innovation wouldn't even exist:

Okay, I kid. But telling marketers to change things up and freshen up their brand when necessary is not new information, and Lady Gaga wearing an octopus outfit certainly wouldn't drive the point home, even if it was.

Oh, and I'm still waiting on that explanation of how Gaga's costume changes demonstrate "innovative experience design", since the last time I checked, CRAAAAAZY costumes and outfits were par the course in pop.

A hotdog? Whoa! So crazy! So wild!

The closet Gaga fan writer then goes on to say:
"Plus, Lady Gaga executes one of her costume changes on-stage... The scene is awkward and raw but it is also real and intimate. Pulling back the curtain on your business is a risk, but it just might pay out by drawing people closer to you and making your brand seem more human."
This basically boils down to: "be more relatable". Great advice, but only if you do it right. Otherwise it can seem like inauthentic pandering.

Now, the writer obviously thinks that Gaga is doing something authentically human on stage by changing in front of everyone. I'd like to know exactly what it is about it that makes her seem more human. The three stage hands, maybe? Does anyone else out there need three other adults to help them change? No? Just Gaga?

So relatable.
The writer then says "Lady Gaga also shows how to make brand experiences personal", and goes on to describe the gift giving part of her concert, where people throw money, flowers, jewelery, notes/letters, clothing, wallets, etc on stage.
"Unlike most other performers who ignore these items until a roadie cleans the stage, Lady Gaga uses them as a way to connect personally with audience members."
Fans throwing random shit on stage is not new, and many performers do in fact react to the things thrown at them, as well as make a personal connection with their audience members.

Beyoncé stops concert to sing Happy Birthday to a fan

I don't know where this writer got the idea that Gaga is doing something unique by interacting with the fans at her show. But anyway, how does "connecting personally with her audience" relate to marketing?

"Think about your brand experiences as two-way dialogues between you and your fans. Instead of only performing for your customers and adhering to scripted communications, consider how spontaneous personal interactions can build valuable relationships with your customers."
Basically Yohn is saying that brands should have a relationship with their customers and listen to them in a way that doesn't seem rehearsed or forced. Companies should invite an open line of communication and communicate with customers like they're actually people.

Really? This is news? This is something that Lady Gaga is somehow teaching marketers, by interacting with fans at her show? Goodness. I wonder what companies did before 2009 when Gaga came along? How did any company out there ever survive before Gaga was around to show them such new and innovative marketing techniques like "communicating with" and "connecting with" your consumers?

The writer of the article then goes on to say that Lady Gaga is a powerful storyteller, and effectively connects with her audience because she speaks with emotion and tells personal stories. Not like other performers don't... but you guessed it! Gaga is SO MUCH BETTER AT IT.

How could a marketer use storytelling in their business? The writer says:  
"Brands, too, can use storytelling to cultivate emotional connections. Think beyond the usual corporate history and identify stories that capture your uniqueness – perhaps one about an important milestone or about a key customer. And then tell those stories in dramatic, creative ways."
Like when a store's website posts customer compliments?! Or when a big box store shows a picture of their humble beginnings?! Oh! If only I'd thought of "connect emotionally with consumers" first! I'd be a marketing millionaire! Damn you, Lady Gaga for coming up with such amazing and innovative ideas that no one has ever done before!

Although it was disguised as a new point, that last one was basically the same as the one before it: communicate with your customers like they're people, and give them something to relate to. Try to establish a special connection, and connect with them in a way they can't find anywhere else (except they can, because this is not new marketing information, and whatever you have to offer is probably cheaper online anyway).

The writer then basically congratulates Gaga by saying:
"Years ago, Lady Gaga taught marketers how to attract attention through well-designed appearances (e.g., emerging from an egg at the 2011 Grammy Awards show) and how to develop brand communities like her Little Monsters. She’s now setting the standard for creating mesmerizing, memorable brand experiences."
So "ensure well-designed appearances in order to attract a customer's attention" is a lesson that Lady Gaga taught marketers? Really? So up until Gaga's spectacles, market researchers didn't know that people like things in flashy, pretty, colourful, interesting looking packages? Billboards weren't a thing? Television commercials weren't a thing? Publicity stunts weren't a thing?

And what else is Yohn trying to say there? That "brand communities" didn't exist before Gaga? Fan clubs weren't a thing until Gaga came around? Customer loyalty and reward programs didn't exist until Gaga showed the world how profitable marketing to your key audience was?

Can you hear it, can you hear it?
Here's the article's closing:
"Some people may love her, others may hate her, but everyone can agree she’s a one-of-a-kind marketer with a lot to teach."
Here she is, speaking for everyone again.

No, Yohn, not everyone agrees that Lady Gaga is a "one-of-a-kind marketer with a lot to teach" because guess what: she's not. Everything you have listed that she's "done" has been done before, by better people, and with better results.

Not one example you gave of a marketing "lesson" could be uniquely traced back to Lady Gaga.

Be innovative? Keep a fresh and changing image? Connect emotionally with your customers? Build a consumer community? Have a high standard of quality? None of these things are unique to Gaga, and none of these lessons have just been recently learned by marketers.

If you really think Lady Gaga is "schooling marketers", then I advise you to click here and buy yourself a textbook because I guarantee that a marketer would take a pointer from one of those books long before he would take a pointer from Lady Gaga.
Nice article, Yohn. Why don't you save yourself the trouble and post a Ticketmaster link to her show next time, since this was obviously just an advertisement for it.

July 11, 2014

First Fusari, now Gibson... Laurieann launches solo pop act "Harlee"

Laurieann Gibson is a creative director and choreographer to the stars. She's worked with big names like Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Diddy, Keri Hilson, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, and others, and now she's launching her own solo music career.

She's called herself "Harlee", and she debuted her first single "Dream Warriors" feat. Akon on GMA. Check it out below:

Offical video here:

Bonus: Video where Gibson admits Gaga can't dance is "rhythmically challenged":

It's looking more and more like Lady Gaga was just a lucky combination of other people's talents.

So what do you all think? Will Harlee be successful as a pop act?

July 8, 2014

Did Lady Gaga rip off the Psychic Twins?

It's no secret that Lady Gaga frequently looks to others for, um, "inspiration".  She's been known to copy pay homage to many artists, both mainstream and indie... but where is the line drawn between being inspired and simply copying?

From The Psychic Twins official website:

Hey, Lady Gaga! The Psychic Twins called…they want their costumes back!

Is Gaga the Bernie Madoff of pop music? You decide. Lady Gaga has always claimed that she designs her own outfits and costumes, and even has a costume design house called “Haus of Gaga” that constructs them.
So you be the judge…Who designed it first? Who rocked it best?

Lady Gaga really wants to be the third Psychic Twin.

The Jamison Twins as “The Pointed Sisters” at New York Plaza Hotel 1981 vs Lady Gaga 2010. (PS – That’s before Gaga was even born)

The Jamison Twins as “White Swans” that we designed and created for Gloria Vanderbilt show, NY 1981. Lady Gaga looks like she didn’t quite make it over the cuckoo’s nest! 2011

The Jamison Twins original art piece “Angel of Shells” 2001 vs Lady Gaga in identical pose and costume. 2011

The Jamison Twins in their trademark blue hair and black dresses with their rock band “Flying Objects”, 1987 vs Gaga in the exact same wig, makeup and outfit. LOTAO (Laughing Our Twin Asses Off)

The Jamison Twins as “Myopia and Fallopia from the Planet Utopia” 2004 vs Lady Gaga on a bad hair day at the Brit Awards 2010.

The Jamison Twins as “Myopia and Fallopia from the Planet Utopia” 2004 vs Lady Gaga photo bombing The Psychic Twins at the Brit Awards 2010.


The Jamison Twins posing in a museum 1976 vs Gaga with Christina Aguilera trying to be The Psychic Twins on The Voice finale 2013.

The Jamison Twins as “Honey and Bee Hive” 1985 vs Gaga missing the point once again in Stockholm, Sweden 2012.

The Jamison Twins as “Honey and Bee Hive” 1985 vs Gaga missing the point once again in Stockholm, Sweden 2012.

The Jamison Twins wearing avant-garde leopard costumes 1983 vs Gaga in same leopard costume in Telephone Video with Beyonce 2009. How many sofas had to die to make Gaga’s outfit?

The Jamison Twins as “Standing Mermaids” in blond wigs, NY 1982 vs Lady Gaga as a fish that got caught in an oil slick 2011.

The Jamison Twins in Mona Lisa Dresses on book cover for Identical vs Gaga. Here she rips off Leonardo da Vinci and The Psychic Twins, London 2013.

The Jamison Twins as “The Red Hot Lobsterettes” performing at The White House for the Reagans, 1982 vs Gaga in similar red lobster costume, NY 2011. Something smells fishy, throw that one back!

Terry and Linda, The Jamison Twins as “The Liberty Twins” in mirrored corset costumes at Lincoln Center Liberty Gala, NY, with Bob Hope and Pavarotti, 1983 vs Gaga in mirrored corset costume, 2009. (Trailer trash version.)

End of Article

What do you all think? Did Gaga copy these looks? Did she rip off the Psychic Twins?


Terry and Linda discuss their feelings about the situation in this interview from 7:50-12:22:

"We know who the real artists are."

Thanks to John for the link to the interview.