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Wrecking Ball Branding

print foam fingersRemember when Lady Gaga wore a meat dress? Bizarre.

Remember when Madonna made a video in which she had sex on a church altar? Scandalous!

Remember when Miley Cyrus took a wrecking ball to her squeaky clean Hannah Montana image?

It only took about two swings of the wrecking ball. I’d say most of the damage was done during the Video Music Awards when Miley elected to grind against a promotional foam finger during her live performance. Who can forget the image of the Will Smith family visibly cringing in the front row? (That was my favorite part.)

The Yahoo news of the moment is all about Miley’s shocking transformation from Disney character/Billy’s little girl to sex goddess…or something.

Unless you live in a cave, you’ve heard/read/seen all about Miley’s recent performance at the VMA’s, which began with a lesson for us all in “twerking” (which includes a lot of provocative booty shaking) and wrapped up with all that bumping and grinding against a promotional product. Her tongue hung out for much of the performance as well.

In case you missed it, this morning’s Yahoo news featured still images of Miley’s latest music video release to promote her song, “Wrecking Ball.” It’s kind of like driving past a car accident. You can’t help but look.

I hadn’t even had my coffee yet, so I could feel every one of my forty years prickle with irritation as I squinted at Miley perched naked atop a wrecking ball. Why is this news? This is about the moment my phone rang. (My BFF calls every morning on her commute to work.)

“Why is Miley Cyrus naked on a wrecking ball on my computer screen?” I asked in greeting.

“Wait until you see the part where she licks a sledge hammer,” BFF replied.

I have not watched the “Wrecking Ball” video. The stills were enough for me.

I’m not a prude, even for a forty-year-old soccer mom. I don’t try to shield my kids from Miley’s videos or scary movies or songs that contain the “F-word.” The world is what it is. What bothers me the most about meat dresses, sex on altars, and twerking has nothing to do with my “impressionable” young children. Luckily, I believe my kids have enough positive role models in their lives that it would never occur to them to factor Miley amongst them.

What’s wrong with nakedness atop a wrecking ball is that it’s such a transparent marketing and branding ploy. None of it ever looks genuine, only like desperate money grubbing. Get everyone to stop and stare and talk about the bizarre, the scandalous, and the shocking and you don’t even have to write a decent song. It’ll get played anyway. People will stop, look, and listen anyway.

Miley has a great voice. It’s disappointing that she felt she had to obliterate whatever was left of her Hannah Montana image in order to sell her music, because good music sells itself. No video needed.

I wonder if she’ll look back one day and cringe, because let’s face it. You don’t want your grandchildren watching you lick a sledgehammer unless your entire legacy is all about the money. I hope she can dig deep and brand herself for who she really is, through her music and her words, and nothing more.






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