Adages

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Product dis-placement: Spin masters turn tables on Mad Ave

The ultimate measure of a rocker's success today is a hit song repurposed for a car ad. In the old days no self-respecting rock god ever sold out to the man. Imagine Hendrix in his lifetime hawking zero-financing with "Stone free, to ride with the breeze... ." Thank the mogul rappers for the current state of affairs. They opened the floodgates rhapsodizing about their pagers.

One entertainer is turning the tables on this trend. Underground mix master and founder of "trip-hop" music DJ Shadow along with fellow disc jockey Cut Chemist just released a CD called "Product Placement" that steals brand slogans and jingles, sampling them in extended dance tracks. There's an old milk ad, a motorcycle spot and more. Brand names are safely cut from the samples, so they serve the music rather than the other way around. But there is one old jingle that plays as a chorus and is not easily disguised. "It's the real thing in the back of your mind, what you are hoping to find is the real thing." A Coca-Cola Co. spokesman, from the urban marketing department, told Adages he's never heard of a DJ Shadow. "Did he use `the real thing' in the recording?" the spokesman asked. "Well, then you'll have to talk to the legal department. I don't think he can do that." Uh-oh.

Mothers get behind the wheel: Racing under the influence

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the group largely responsible for our nationwide DWI laws, will sponsor a dragster in the National Hot Rod Association circuit. Of course, MADD will share the road with the usual assortment of tobacco and alcohol sponsors. Unlikely track fellows? No, says a Hot Rod association spokesman. "Picture a drag-racing car sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, lining up against the Budweiser dragster, hitting the accelerator on a 6,000 horsepower engine and crossing the finish line at over 320 MPH in less than five seconds. How's that for getting your anti-impaired driving message across?"

Tongue in sneaker update: The shoebomber meets O.J. Simpson

Adages received a lot of angry mail regarding our last column in which we searched for the brand of sneaker worn by Islamic shoebomber Richard Reid.

"I guess you thought you were being funny and clever-personally, you made my stomach turn," writes James Keplesky. "It makes me wonder what angle you would have taken if Reid was actually successful in blowing up the plane and killing hundreds of innocent people."

Adages' reply? Two words: Bruno Magli. During the O.J. Simpson case, this pricey shoe brand became an important piece of evidence. "People thought I was nuts when I went after the Bruno Magli story," says Michael Atmore, editor of Footwear News. "That was in the early days of the trial. `How can you touch that? It's so gross,' everyone said. Of course, later it played a huge role in the trial and everybody was talking about it."

A Justice Department spokesman contacted by Adages last week continued to refuse to disclose Reid's brand of sneakers. "By not revealing the name of the brand, they have started a guessing game," says Michael. "People are simply going to want to know. The shoes are at the center of an international incident. Our job is to find out what they are and let people know."

contributing: andrew horton and rich thomaselli

Wag your tongue at rlinnett@crain.com.

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