From: EMI/Seagrams/Warners/Sony Joint Concerns Zaibatsu
To: Alternative Music Marketing Heads CC: MTV, VH1, NME, MM
This document (as agreed by the CC of the JCZ at this year’s Midem) lays out a basic guide framework for video promotion targeted primarily at the white, male, middle-class college demographic (hereafter known as schmindie kids). Whilst being primarily a voluntary code of operations, it must be noted that divergence from the following codeset may result in significant downward budgetary re-allocation.
1. All schmindie videos must be seen in slow-motion at point of consumption. As has been proven by our response panels, the schmindie kid perceives slo-mo as somehow imparting a greater sense of ’emotional depth’ and ‘coolness’ than normal speed. An added bonus is that content-challenged artists tend to look more profound, caring and depressed in slo-mo.
2. Gaudy colour palettes must be avoided. Please remember that we are trying to portray an alienated, sad world to the schmindie kids to contrast with their pleasant, colourful suburban surroundings. In general, a handy rule of thumb is to simply invert the colour rules that dance videos use.
3. All women must be depressed. The schmindie kid, especially the male, is deeply guilty over their implicit support of patriarchy, racism, homophobia and all the other concerns the future power elite harbour briefly in their teenage years. Whilst they don’t actually have friends who are non-whites, homosexuals or indeed girls, all videos must reflect this useless existential self-loathing. Therefore, all women in schmindie videos must look suicidal. Make-up should be smeared if possible and mascara should always be teared down the face or perhaps smudged in a panda way. No woman in a video may be over a European size 6, perhaps 8 provided she looks sufficiently depressed at her obesity. Please see all Manic Street Preachers/Suede product for useful examples. (As an ancillary point to this code, would producers please try to hide non-white members of bands as it has been proven that it causes a slump in product placement and MTV acceptance. Please see the previous Living Color and Anthrax/Public Enemy mistakes as examples to be avoided.)
4. Locations must at all junctures be as grubby as possible. Please remember that as much as poor kids want to see expensive cars, vast mansions and luxury furniture in hip hop videos, rich kids seek absolution by taking a brief holiday in other people’s poverty. This enhances the product by making it seem more concerned, socially relevant and left-wing. Thus increasing both the schmindie kid’s disgust at the world they will inherit and our profits. The JCZ recommends tube stations, high-rise apartments, and disused shopping centres. Please keep local teenagers away as they may injure the bands.
An average schmindie video must be costed realistically. Whilst maintaining the ever-crucial air of depression, it must look expensive enough to get MTV/VH1 play. Do not skimp. Remember how well the Kula Shaker product performed when coupled with the seven-for-one offered on the album on release.
As always, the above document is a paper in transition. We must follow the market where we cannot create it. This is doubly dangerous in the alternative sector where there is the slim chance of stumbling across an artist who refuses optimal marketing techniques. It is the job of their A&Rs in these rare instances to convince them of the error of their ways and our superior knowledge. Artists come and go, fashions mutate but profit is eternal.
End of Document