November 6, 2014
An open letter to the candy industry
by Monika Zaleska
This week in product placement news: hip bands are staying at a Sour Patch Kids candy branded house in Brooklyn while writer are stuck striking low-cal but high price-tag deals with artificial sweeteners.
There’s a sliding scale for how much content bands have to produce depending on the length of their stay, but hey, at least they get a roof over the heads. The best authors can hope for is a promotional residency-on-wheels.
So, candy industry, why no love for writers? Why not provide equal opportunity to sell out? Is artificial sweetener the best we can do for the Jonathan Franzens of tomorrow (who could surely use a sweet treat to lighten the load of genius)? I want a Willy Wonka writing factory, a Jolly Ranchers poetry ranch, or a Swedish Fish writer’s boathouse docked in Stockholm. Nerds need not apply, let’s not perpetuate the less flattering stereotypes of the profession.
Meanwhile back at “the Patch” (I did not make up that name), bands like Deer Tick are ready to cash in on the “free” stay, while Tame Impala—which Melville House musicologist Alex Shephard describes as, “psychedelic music for people who have never done drugs”—denies reports that they will be chillin’ surrounded by bowls of little sour men any time soon. (ed. note: I like Tame Impala. Deer Tick, on the other hand…) In a statement, their manager explained, “Nothing against the Sour Patch Kids, we hear they’re delicious. We’re just not staying at their home.”
The Patch is hoping that hosting bands will help lure teenager consumers, and so they’re ready to assist musicians in creating
ads social media content. “Most bands on the road will only be staying for a day or so. But in the event that a band or artist stays for a longer period of time, camera crews and engineers will be made available to help them fulfill their content requirements.”
Letting people film you eating delicious candy is so much better than tweeting your #amtrakresidency on less than reliable Wifi or pretending you like Sweet’N Low. But hey, we know the literary world is eons behind movies and music in branded content. Unfortunately there’s no doubt we’ll eventually catch up. Until then, let’s remember the sweet words of Farrah Bezner,the marketing director for Mondelez (Sour Patch’s corporate owner): “You have to break culture to make culture.”