Category Archives: branding

We’re In Business, You’re On the Hit List

You can file this under the ever-growing “Can’t we all just be HAPPY?” tab in the Duranie cabinet.

Today’s news brings the tidbit that alas, I will not be making a hasty drive up to Monterey next week. I will not be missing the chance to  walk my youngest into her new first grade classroom on the first day of school, and I will not have the incredible opportunity to (probably) hear Hungry Like the Wolf again.  *deep, sigh* (whether that’s a sad sigh or a cleansing one clearly depends on your point of view. I’ll let you decide)

Seriously though, I’m OK. Sure, I was disappointed when I didn’t win, but I kind of figured it was a slim chance anyway. I got over the idea that I wouldn’t be driving five hours up and then another five hours back home within a 24-hour period pretty darn quickly. My luck is pretty terrible by nature, and I’ve gotten used to the fact that “many enter, few will win”.  I hope the winners all have a great time!!  I just don’t have time to be negative, you know?

On the upside, Duran Duran announced something today that I think could be fun –  the show they’re playing at next week is for Mazda (I love it when my detective work pays off and is correct!) to unveil the Mx-5 Miata in Monterey. The good news is that the show, or highlights thereof, will be filmed, and WE can view it online at Mazda’s YouTube channel.  Check out the details here on duranduran.com I don’t know how much of Duran’s performance will actually be shown on YouTube, but given that most of us haven’t really seen them play since 2012 – we’ll take what we can get! Daily Duranie will set up a viewing party very similar to what we did for Duran Duran Appreciation Day…so be on the lookout for information in a future blog. We’re looking forward to “seeing” all of you!

Back to the point of this post though, why can’t we all just be happy they’re playing?? I’ve seen so much negativity today, it’s really kind of pathetic. Much of it comes in the form of “You’re totally selling out by doing shows like this.”  Really?  Could someone please explain to me how playing shows they’re being paid to play is selling out?  ‘Cuz…you know when YOU buy a ticket to see them play somewhere, they’re being paid, right?  That’s kind of the way this all works. Is it just a matter of who is paying them?  So it’s OK for the band to make money off of the people who love them and have worshipped them forever, but it’s not OK for the band to make money off of brands and/or products.  Interesting. Or, it’s OK for the band to make money off of fashion, perfume, maybe even alcohol brands (because you know they’ve done shows sponsored by Baileys and Smirnoff among others)…but not cars.  You also know that they’ve done private gigs for people able and willing to pay them before, including corporations, right??

*scratches head*

This is all ridiculous. While I wouldn’t necessarily argue that yogurt felt a little weird – the point is that the band is being paid to play, and I’d probably guess they’re being paid a lot of money to play. Good for them. It costs real money to create and record an album. Nile Rodgers doesn’t work for free. Neither does Mark Ronson. I’m sure Ben Hudson isn’t free….and for that matter, neither are Dom and Anna, or management or their team or the many, many other people that work for Duran Duran.  I’m well-aware that the band doesn’t NEED to record albums and they don’t NEED to play live. But the fact is, they choose to do those things, and it costs money to do them….and we’re VERY glad they do! This is a BUSINESS. The band doesn’t put their own personal paychecks or savings right back into the band to pay producers or put on tours…not after 30 years of being a band.  The business has to self-sustain, so in order to make those albums, they’ve got to have money. In order to tour, they’ve got to make money, and that’s not exactly as easy to do now as it was back in 1985. Before fans say they shouldn’t act as shills for cars or anything else, perhaps fans should take a basic business economics class and understand what they’re saying first.

Bottom line, be glad the band is still playing.  Who really cares where?  It’s one show of many to come. Pay attention to the music, support the band however you can, and BE HAPPY.  Life is incredibly short, stop wasting time with negativity.

-R

 

 

 

 

(Fans) Waiting for a look, the invitation…

Every now and then I read something from a fellow fan on Twitter that cracks me up.

The other day I was on Twitter, and a dear, kind-hearted fan posted that he/she was on a serious campaign to get the band to do a fan-cruise. Yes, you did read that correctly.  He/she wanted to know my thoughts, and then they kindly asked if I’d be willing to start using a hashtag for a DD cruise to get the idea trending.

Now I’m sure there are many fans out there who believe, in their kind little Duranie hearts, that the band would love for nothing more than to spend an extended weekend with an entire cruise ship filled with Duranies. I mean, we are fun people, right?!?  But then again, those who have been around for any length of time know what it can be like when the band is around. (What I wouldn’t GIVE for a good photo of two girls ripping each others hair out to get new John Taylor right now… Ok, here’s what we’re going to do: envision Sing Blue Silver and the rush that takes place when they open the doors to the arena.  Don’t remember? Go get your DVD and watch it!)

The fact is, and I really hate using this word to describe my fandom – but we’re just a little on the overwhelming side. Yes, I’m aware we’re all adults now. Yes, I know that we should have outgrown this fascination and fantasy that we could end up with one of them as our forever mate. Yes, I know they’re all either married or involved.  The question is – has any of that really stopped us?

I think we all know the answer to that.  There’s really no need to embarrass ourselves by posting the answer. *winks*

However, even with all of that aside.  Would the band really consider a cruise?  I have trouble even asking that question without laughing.  As someone reminded me – the band IS known for yachts and champagne.  Yes, yes, I am well-aware.  A yacht and a cruise ship are very, very different things.  Somehow, I just don’t see Nick boarding a neon-glitzed cruise ship, ready for several days of chatting it up with fans, a few rounds of bingo and maybe hitting the buffet. Call me crazy.  I can’t imagine Simon putting up with ANY of us for very long without being under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol (perhaps that’s the point?).  Never mind poor John – I don’t think he’d ever leave his stateroom or balcony for fear of actually running into a screaming crowd of us in one of the narrow ship hallways.  Roger – well, Roger might be found tanning on an upper deck, but he’d always have to be on the lookout for John hiding behind a planter, ready to take Instagram photos at any given moment.  Funny, I could see Dom going along with the idea, but only because he has no idea what he’d be in for. (I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.)

As much as Duran Duran is known for being the jet-setting, champagne-consuming, supermodels and sunshine type of band the media and their branding has made them out to be over the years – the difference is that they don’t typically do these things with fans. Those that have seen those inner-workings are among the prized few. And, I would argue  there is something about the fact that they’ve always been a little elitist and a bit removed from us common folk, that we secretly like.  Maybe it’s a love/hate sort of relationship.  We hate that they spent so much time portraying themselves as being above us when we were younger, to a lesser extent I think they still try for that image now, but in some respects, we love it.  We love the chase. We romanticize the idea that if they’re really the elite and they’re noticing us…well…that’s gotta mean something, right?  Self-esteem boost, here we come!!

Otherwise, what’re we all still doing here?? Is it really just about the music?  Maybe for some, but for everyone? Give me a break. I SEE the Facebook groups we’ve been invited to join, guys. It’s not just the music between us.  Sometimes it’s a little girl panic, too.

So, while I might be willing to board a cruise ship with my friends for a weekend of girl fun, I’m not expecting to run into Nick at the buffet, Simon at the art auction, Roger on deck, or John pretty much anywhere on the ship.  (Yes, I know I’m leaving out Dom. Truth be told – I think he’d go even AFTER my warnings. Silly man.)

-R

Disposable Culture

Last week, I brought up a couple of blogs I’d read where a bit of a How To was given on Superfans.  These blogs discussed how to create them, and how to keep them.  My commentary was based on the premise that to cultivate such a group of fans would feel completely synthetic and contrived. I still wonder just how successful the effort will be seen in the long term.  Will fans really stick by for 30+ years, or will it end up being a situation with many “flashes in the pan”?

Not long after writing those blogs, I watched an episode of America’s Got Talent.  It’s not my favorite show, but for whatever reason it was on our television that night, and it occurred to me that the idea of creating a “hit” or the “next biggest thing” is the prevailing drive in the industry these days.  Nothing is allowed to happen naturally.  Not the talent, not the music, not the image, and definitely not the fans loyalty.

It should make one wonder if maybe, just maybe, there isn’t a simple correlation between sales  in recent years and the history of such shows as American Idol, America’s Got Talent, X Factor,  The Voice and many, many others. (Research just how many “one hit wonders” we’ve had in recent years.  The numbers are astounding!)  We’re so busy creating stars, buying one or two songs from them and then immediately moving on to the next big thing that we’re completely missing the bigger picture at hand.

My curiosities about the current culture will only be answered in hindsight many years ahead, being both the beauty and curse of history.  I am certain that as my children enter their thirties and forties a band of historians will dissect this moment in time as we have done to decades prior.  Will my children and others in their generation have similar tales to tell about continuing to follow the same band(s) well into their adulthood?  How will future music listeners look back on the beginning years of this century? 

If Duran Duran were at it’s beginnings today, just how different would they be from the band we knew in the 1980’s?  The obvious mentions are of course the image and styling – assuming the band would still be as forward thinking, but would the process be nearly as organic for them, and would fans still be as drawn?

Thankfully, I never have to know.  -R

The Biggest & Best Party Band in the World

Those words have a familiar ring about them, don’t they?  I have to suppress a laugh when I read them, because back when they were correctly used to describe a certain band I know a little bit about – I had absolutely NO IDEA what they meant!  At that time, my idea of a good party was hanging out with my friends (from my high school marching band, no less) and listening to 80’s music, trying to decide whether to head over to Round Table, or go and toilet paper (don’t ask) a fellow band members house. (who dared not to show at the aforementioned “party”)  Yes, I really lived it up well in the 80’s, didn’t I?

I suppose that scenario would hold true with many of the fanbase, seeing as a good portion of us were either just barely getting out of elementary school, or just entering high school during the infamous 80’s time period when the band held their reign over the land.  Even if you knew what it meant to really party – I can’t imagine that many of us really did, and definitely not to the extent that the band may have meant at the time.

All of that said, do the words still hold true today?  Recently I’ve heard Simon proclaim it to be so in a few interviews.  He seems to find a good point to put in a jovial and enthusiastic “We’re still the best party band in the world!” just as he’s finishing describing the bands new album All You Need Is Now. (available on CD March 21 in the UK and rest of the world, March 22 in the US!)  When I first heard him mention it – I grinned.  I mean, the idea of still feeling youthful enough to say that is great, isn’t it?  There are days when I WISH I felt that way, and then there are days (not really all that coincidental that it’s when I’m “on tour” with my friends….) when I truly feel like I’ve still got the world by it’s tail.  As much as I’m sure that collectively the band wishes I would forget (along with everyone else) – we’re talking about guys who are either now 50…or darn close to it.  Yes, age is but a number, but energy that goes along with youth is something entirely different.

Last week, I sat with my oldest and youngest daughters to watch Duran Duran perform at the Fan Jam for the Super Bowl.  As Amanda already mentioned in her blog, it was great to see the band again.  It’s been quite a while, and just watching them onstage together made me very excited in anticipation for my own upcoming trip to the UK.  That said, I didn’t feel that the performance was their best.  Meaning – I’m sure the band  felt good about what they’d done, but in my “vast” (yes, that’s sarcasm) experience, there’s more than one part to the full equation of what makes a great show.  There’s the band and all that goes along both behind the scenes and on stage, and then there’s the little matter of the audience.  Naturally the band can only be responsible for so much, and they can really only do so much to get the audience going.  In regard to the Fan Jam, the audience seemed rather flat, and in return, that made it difficult for the band to look energized.  A show like that is a tough sell by any means, simply because you’ve got people in that audience that range from loving the band – to only being there because someone else they love is going to perform next, and they can’t stand Duran Duran.  The age range looked pretty wide to me, and judging purely from a social science standpoint – it was pretty obvious that the show was designed to touch on three very different musical genres.  The promoters or organizers of the show cast a pretty wide net with the acts they’d chosen, and I would venture to guess that the overlap of fans between the three acts (Jason Derulo, Duran Duran & Kid Rock) was nil to none.  The overall appeal of the show had to reach a huge demographic, to say the least, and each act seemed to have a pretty tough hill to climb, regardless of whom was your favorite.   When the band was onstage, as much as I’d like to say they looked youthful and vibrant, they did seem tired to me.  This wasn’t so much as a fault of the band as it was the setting they were in.  How do you stand up to acts that are likely at least 20 to maybe even 30 years younger and not seem out of place?  Sure, the band and their music is timeless.  To ME….but in the words of my oldest, who knows how much I love Duran Duran “Mom, they are really starting to look old.”  OUCH.   (yes, she’s still alive.)    I’m sure that’s part of the reason Duran Duran was put on the bill that night – to appeal to the “older” demographic in the viewing audience, both there in person and in their homes….but that brings me back to the original sentence.  Is this band still the biggest and best party band in the world?

That’s a very tough sentence to really sell, and as much as a part of me is screaming yes – there’s a very big part of me that is screaming no.  What’s more – why SHOULD they be?  Haven’t they really already proven their staying power?  One of my least favorite “industry” words these days is “relevant”.  Duran Duran aren’t going to prove themselves “relevant” just by saying that they can still party it up with the best of them…..and on the other side of that coin, do they really need to PROVE that they are relevant?  Isn’t that what All You Need Is Now is really about?  They already own that space.  There’s nothing left for them to prove to anybody.  There’s no need for them to continue to proclaim themselves as worthy, and I would argue that every time they come out with a statement like that, it’s comes off as though they doubt it, which they should not.

About 6 months ago, I went to a concert with my husband up at the Gibson Amphitheater (Universal Studios) in LA.  As we were coming out of the show – I happened to notice a familiar face sitting in the back of the section we were sitting in.  I’m omitting the name of this person because I would think it’d be rude to do otherwise with what I’m about to share, but I will say it’s someone who has worked with certain members in the band in past years.  In any case, this person was sitting with a few MUCH younger people – and in general, he looked very desperate to prove himself “still young”.  He was wearing more leather than I’ve seen on cows, and a bandana wrapped around his very cropped and gray hair.  His face was tanned and wrinkled, almost beyond recognition (clearly it worked because only a few people recognized him) – but the young kids who were milling around him were obviously there to make an impression both on him AND on everyone else that passed.  He seemed to go from looking bored (when he noticed people recognizing him) to looking desperate for attention.  Both my husband and I commented that overall – he looked sad, lonely (funny how you can look completely lonely even when you’ve got people sitting on all sides of you) and the epitome of a aged rock star who didn’t want to admit he was all but washed up.  Honestly, it was pathetic and made me think more than twice about Duran Duran.  Even if you think you know whom I’m talking about, please do not post it here – this blog isn’t about naming names that way.  I certainly wouldn’t want someone outing me the day(s) I look like death warmed over in my bathrobe and slippers, and regardless of how public the person might be – I think I can afford him some dignity.

I don’t want the band to end up that way.  I want to see the band embrace their age with vigor, respect, and dignity.  That doesn’t mean I want them all using botox and hair dye until they’re 90 – it means that I know they’re not 20 anymore, and I’m perfectly OK with that.  I love them for who they are.  Am I the only one??   On the same token, I think that at a certain point, it’s going to become almost laughable to hold on to the same “branding” they had back in the 80’s.   Maybe it’s time we start taking them seriously as the treasure they really are, rather than reverting back to the less-than-serious notion of just being a band known for their partying skill.  I guess I’d rather see them in their dark Armani suits looking dignified and handsome rather than pretending they are still going to be relevant to kids the same age as my daughter, because truly – (tongue firmly planted in cheek) what do those youngsters know at 14 anyway??

-R