resounding epiphany of that brilliant iconoclast, Marshall McLuhan, High Priest of the Electronic Age and one of the most quoted sages of the Hippie Era. Years ahead of his time, McLuhan foresaw the inundation of technology and media into every aspect of our cultural lives.
Well, Marshall was so right. Through the marketing miracle that is MTV, the shotgun marriage of video and music is broadcast 24 hours a day-shlock around the clock-and its influence on the way commercials and movies are made is incalculable. The movie house is now the High Church of our time (so popcorn must be the Eucharist), and the soundtrack that accompanies the film and is released simultaneously with shlockwork precision is among the defining artistic experiences that shape our culture.
The movie soundtrack is an essential element of the latest Hollywood market matrix and is as revered a product as the movie itself. According to Billboard, the "Forrest Gump" soundtrack made gazillions. Ditto "Pulp Fiction," "Waiting to Exhale" and "Dangerous Minds." If Marshall were around today he'd agree with me that, in the late '90s,
the movie soundtrack is the message. Soon, when asked if you read a particular novel, you won't answer, "No, but I saw the movie," you'll say, "No, but I have the soundtrack on CD."
Now, what if ad agencies, the ultimate messagemakers, had soundtracks that defined what they were all about culturally and artistically? Hell, agencies like Chiat/Day already have beautifully packaged Web sites and CD-ROMs, so surely an agency soundtrack can't be too far behind. Just think, they could go out with every new business proposal or brochure.
Well, in an attempt to nudge the process along, I've chosen four very successful agencies from around the country and created custom-made soundtracks for them. Some songs are real, some surreal. I'll bill them shortly. These four very different shops require four unique self-marketing strategies. Herewith, the thinking that went into the soundtrack compilations.
Deutsch: Build on the rebel gangsta rep Donny has managed to parlay into multitudes of dead presidents. In fact, if I were his PR man, I would have him in trouble with babes and the law every quarter. It worked for Kelsey Grammer and Johnny Depp, it can work for Donny.
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners: Advertising's golden children, with a hip, terrific reel and the apparent respect of the Omnicom bean counters. But, as the siren call of big advertising beckons, I'm sure there are many there who would prefer a little anarchy in this precious paradise.
Young & Rubicam: Back in the early '70s they were the first big agency to be creatively driven, stockpiling talent, doing good work and doing it with style. Now, if they could only stop trying to turn advertising into a science, maybe they could find a leader who could take them back to the future. The journey begins with facing the music. Mine.
Wieden & Kennedy is too hip for formal critical discussion, so I'll put it to music: "Wieden & Kennedy," sung by Bob Goulet to the tune of "What a Difference a Day Makes."
"What a difference a dude makes, my Obie Wan Wieden,
Master of the universe, making his rivals curse.
My yesterday was blue, dear
Now I'm laughing with Kesey, dear
What a difference a dude makes
And that difference is you, Dan."
Goulet to engineer: "It's pronounced Why-din, like, 'Why din' we use Pytka on this shoot?'"
SNOOP DONNY DON
1. Under My Thumb (Or My Designer Boots)
2. Cruel to be Kind
3. Urge to Overkill
4. 'Nuff About Me, Let's Talk About What You Think About Me
5. You Talkin' to Me? (Love Theme From "Taxi Driver")
6. I'm Your Type A
7. Tales From da Hood o' My Jag
8. You Can't Miss, Kid (Donny's Homage to Kurt Cobain)
9. Riches For My Bitches
10. Mr. Jenkins' 12-Step Harlem Shuffle
11. Voodoo Lounge Lizard
GOODBY, ALICIA SILVERSTONE & PARTNERS
"What if God Were Both of Us?"
1. We Fooled the Milk Bored
2. Practically/Amazing Grace
3. We're Too Sexy For This Client
4. The Avant-Gardest Try The Hardest
5. Hal Riney Can Kiss Our Hiney
6. I Can't Get No (Lever Brothers Package-Goods) Satisfaction
7. Theme From Howard Gossage: Surreal Enemy of Mass Appeal
8. Mean Marin Mortgage Money Mantra (The Omnicom Blues)
9. Why Wieden? (As if! Phil)
10. Don't Wanna Grow Up To Be (Y&R, DDB, O&M, BBDO)
11. Another Brick in the Berlin Wall
CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG & RUBICAM
"Exile on Mainstream"
1. I Wanna Be Like Mike (Bolton!)
2. Things to do in New York When You're Dead (Work At Y&R)
3. Play That Funky Music, White Boys
4. Lost in the '70s Tonight
5. Focus Group Fornication
6. I'm With the Bland (The Y&R Groupie Song)
7. Alice in Chains Store Advertising
8. Panic in Creative Work Plan Park
9. In The Year 2525 (We'll Still be in 1974)
10. Two Thousand Light Years From Cool
11. The Million White Man March Mamba (We've Got the Account)
WIEDEN & THE DEAD KENNEDYS
1. Children of the Knight (What Campy Music They Make!)
2. Pup Friction (Another Creative Department Fight)
3. S.A.A.D. Song (Melon Collie and the Northeast Monsoon Mojo)
4. All the Young Dudes (Where the Hell Are the Chicks?)
5. Subaru, What to Jive
6. Do The Spike Thing (Or He'll Kill Us!)
7. Ecotopia Myopia
8. 911 Pytka
9. Under the Table and Dreaming (I'm Making Over 40 Grand)
10. The Electric Kool Aid Acid Focus Group Test (Let Me Run it by Kesey First)