Everyone has a song in them, Cartier has many and it has chosen MySpace to share the love. This is just one of the alliances with big-name brands the site is making.
After the acquisition by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for $580 million (2005), and the news that rival Facebook has just surpassed the site in traffic (May 2007), the social network is now calling itself a portal and planning to go back to its roots - music.
The new initiatives count a site redesign among them. According to a recent Fast Company article, MySpace co-founders feel confident that they have a proven cash-flow ad model. Will the changes be sufficient to help the company in its next phase of growth?
Regardless of what happens to MySpace, one line in the article caught my eye - while Google may dominate the search market, it isn't close to MySpace in terms of detailed information about what users do and consume.
It may be the Holy Grail of targeted marketing, it makes me just more than a little uncomfortable. Behaviorally targeted advertising needs a code of conduct. In an article on The Guardian about Google's 10-year anniversary, Vasanthan Dasan, one of the web's pioneers and now an engineer at Sun Microsystems, perceives three threats to Google's dominance.
First, social networks such as Facebook and MySpace are transforming information about you in a much more targeted and finely grained way; Google is behind on that. Second, mobile phones will become increasingly useful for information, and Google is behind on that too. Finally, there are quite a few companies working on personal genomics: knowing what your genes are so can you see your profile for genetic diseases and find customised medicine. Google will have a lot of challenges.
MySpace does have one advantage for brands - and that is the music portion. Brands can command attention with jingles and music, says Steve Cone in Powerlines. Music was a way for men and women to choose partners. Later, it became part of religious experience - I wrote about Mozart's Requiem at Fast Company as expressing sacred things. From religion, it morphed into a way to combat fear in battle, and today it is a form of entertainment.
Music may be mass produced, but the experience it creates is highly personal. Hence the power of jingles for marketing, those commercial hymns we hear less and less on television and radio. There are new media and now McDonald's is reviving its classic "two all-beef patties" jingle on MySpace. The social network pulled together up-and-coming talents to create their own versions, then opened up a contest for user-generated versions, including videos.
For whom the bell tolls, a jingle is a memorable ad slogan set to a catchy melody that lodges itself in your brain and won't let go all day. Sound is very powerful in musical form and MySpace is well- and about to be even better-positioned to take advantage of that and offer marketers fertile ground on which they can burnish their brands on users' minds.
The Cartier page on MySpace earned a big chunk of my time and so did the jeweler's site - they both gave me a chance to discover new music and images. They are both crafted to tell a powerful story and sell the product by creating a compelling context. Everyone has a song in them - who doesn't respond to a message of love?