100 Days of Pop: Episode 17 2019 Grammy's Most Pop-Marketing Moments

Awards shows!  A must watch for us Pop-Marketers, yet it rarely has anything to do with who walks away with that shiny trophy.  These star-studded annual events are chock-full of cultural cues and observations. At least they are if you know where to look for them. These 3-hour Pop-Marketing classes help you see trends and polish those gems into deeper insights that will fuel your next idea to the moon baby.

On this Episode of the Pop100, we’re talkin’ about the 61st annual Grammy’s Music Awards and the 3 most pop-marketing moments of this year’s show.

#1 Women Rule

Women shine in the first pop-marketing moment of the Grammy's!  It's more of a supercut moments throughout the Grammy’s this year. It's clear that the 2019 Grammy’s belonged to the women.    

Alicia Keys slayed it as a relevant and entertaining host (a rare find). Excuse me but did she just play 2 pianos at the same time?  Eat your heart out double necked guitarists!

At the end of the night, 31 Women artists walked away with Awards. A massive contrast to the single woman awarded the year before.

Cardi B became the first woman to win the best rap album of the year.

There was that surprise appearance by Michelle Obama…wha???   

The touching tributes of Diana Ross and Dolly Parton. The ten minute Dolly performance was particularly interesting seeing the internet light up during the Jolene duet w/ Dolly's god-daughter, Miley Cyrus.

I could do a whole Pop-Marketing tribute to Dolly.  She was always my mom’s favorite performer.  The woman jumped from music to movies before it was cool, owns a chain of rodeo-themed live performance restaurants called Dixie Stamped and she created her own theme Park called DollyWood.  A Theme Park! That’s a coat of many colors right there good people.

#2 Contextual Drafting

The 2nd most pop-marketing moment of the night goes to the augmented reality arms race between Apple & Google.

There was a time, not so long ago, that the only TV commercials made for a specific event were the Super Bowl.  This is no longer the case. Awards shows are now one of the few islands of shared attention on linear television.    

Smart brand understands the context of the awards. They can use that shared attention and mindset to their own benefit. I call it contextual drafting which borrows from Henry Jenkin's ideas on Textual poaching.  Brands create original content that draft off of the theme of the night. This gives brands a boost in the news cycle for putting something talk worthy or contextually relevant in these paid placements.

Last night's best examples of contextual drafting were Apple’s Memoji’s campaign featuring Ariana Grande as a singing Memoji and Google Pixels Playmojis featuring a dancing Childish Gambino.

I'm sure Apple was sweating a bit as Ariana made the last minute decision to ghost the Grammy's, but in the end, it gave the spot a boost in conversation capital.  And dammit if that tiny little dancing Childish Gambino doesn't make me kinda want to go out and buy a Pixel.  The thing to get here is that content was made for the Grammy's. If it would have launched out in the wild without the context of popular music culture, it wouldn't have had the impact.

#3 K-Pop

The 3rd and Pop-Marketing moment of the Grammy’s belongs to the K-Pop (Korean pop music) boy group BTS.  They may not have won a Grammy, but they won my heart when the camera caught them dancing to Dolly Parton’s Jolene. They also won the night on social media becoming the most tweeted about artists of the entire show, beating out Drake, Cardi B, and Smiley Miley.  

So how does a K-POP band you haven’t heard of win the night? Well, that's exactly why they’re on my list.  K-Pop or Korean Pop music scene is a powerful and enormously popular genre of music and BTS is at the top of this wave.  

After coming on the music scene in 2016, BTS, or “Beyond the Scene”, sometimes Bulletproof Boyscouts,  has skyrocketed into international fame following three world tours and several highly successful albums.

Researching K-Pop fandom is fascinating.  A rabbit hole you shouldn’t touch unless you have a sleepless night to burn.  One thing that sets K-Pop apart from other genres is their massive fandoms. Each group or artist has a group similar to Taylor Swift's Swifties, only on Adderall.  BTS fan group calls themselves the ARMY or Adorable Representatives of MC Youth. The Army makes it their job to support the group in many ways including acting as their very own social media battalion.  

An honorable mention goes to the launch of the trailer for the Disney Live Action Aladdin film where we finally got to see Will Smith in all of his blue glory as the genie.  For a loosely music related debut, it got its fair share of social chatter and headlines.  Although few were positive it did get win attention.

Joe Cox