Allow me first to say I have been aware of Lady Gaga since her first appearance on “So You Think You Can Dance?” Season 5. When she rocketed onto the scene, I did not go gaga for Gaga. Her sound and fashion sense soon would make her the Madonna for this generation (you see, Madonna was the Madonna of my generation).
I read the tweets when her video with Beyoncé first released and even noticed the news coverage. People went gaga over Gaga and “Telephone.” If you haven’t seen this video, here’s your opportunity to watch it now (and this is the explicit version).
Fans are spending hours discerning every single pop culture reference in the video, from the obvious “Kill Bill” images, to the slightly “Thelma and Louise” ending and even the Michael Jackson “Bad” moment in the middle. But what blows over people’s heads are the rather obvious product placements.
Who needs commercials? In this 9½ minutes of music that more than 23 million have watched in two weeks (not to mention millions paid $1.99 to download on iTunes and own), I count the following products:[ordered_list style=”decimal”]
- Virgin Mobile
- Diet Coke
- Coco Chanel
- Hewlett-Packard Notebook (HP Envy 15 Beats Edition)
- Kraft Miracle Whip
- Wonder Bread
[/ordered_list]These are just the clearly visible brands. Others are more subtle, like the Chevrolet SS “Pussy Wagon” truck (even with its Chevy logo removed, it’s recognizable), Coors Light sign in the background of the bar/restaurant, the chicken takeout place and the honey bun snack from which both Gaga and Beyoncé bite.
This video captured American attention — at least of Generation Y and Z (since MTV no longer plays music videos in the U.S.). But we gloss over product placement because we’re so used to the advertising we’re bombarded with on a daily basis.
But remember, “Telephone” is something we will not fast-forward through. We will listen to it. Watch it. And now, as I drive to my next destination, and I hear Gaga on the radio, I will see the images she created of making a sandwich in the middle of a video about telephone calls. And I’ll wonder about Wonder Bread and Miracle Whip. And how much they paid to make me think about that.