It turns out that Chris Brown’s new hit single, “Forever,” which curiously includes the phrase, “Double your pleasure, double your fun” is actually an extended version of a 30-second jingle he was commissioned to write for Wrigley’s Doublemint gum.
But wait, it gets worse:
The campaign includes spots featuring R&B singer Ne-Yo doing his own take on Big Red’s “kiss a little longer” jingle. And “Dancing With the Stars” regular-turned-country-singer Julianne Hough recorded a twangy version of Juicy Fruit’s “The taste is gonna move ya.”
But Mr. Brown’s “Forever” is the most ambitious part of the campaign. Mr. Brown was commissioned to write and sing both the pop song and a new version of the Doublemint jingle, introduced in 1960.
First, Mr. Brown updated the jingle and recorded it with hip-hop producer Polow Da Don. Then, during the same Los Angeles recording sessions in February, paid for by Wrigley, Mr. Brown added new lyrics and made a 4½-minute rendition of the tune, titled “Forever.”
In April, Mr. Brown’s record label, Jive, released the song to radio stations and digital download services as a single. After the song became a hit, Jive added it to his 2007 album, “Exclusive,” and re-released the album in June. “Forever” reached No. 4 on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart last week.
And why did Wrigley pick Doublemint for Chris Brown? The WSJ says “Wrigley chose Mr. Brown to develop the new Doublemint song, in part because the company’s consumer research showed that African-American consumers prefer Doublemint to other gum brands.”
Good luck dodging the racial scandal on that one. And does that mean that Big Red, now being hawked by Ne-Yo, is also popular among African-Americans?
Things get even sketchier when you read that the “campaign was conceived and executed by Steve Stoute,” a former executive at Interscope who bragged to the New York Times last month about the “Jay-Z blue” he got GM to adopt as a car colour.
We could dissect every line of the WSJ’s story, because each part of the tale is more appalling than the previous one, but we don’t have the time or space. So read it yourself and be horrified.
But we will say this, it’s one thing for a musician to endorse a particular product, even make a commercial for it or record a jingle, but there’s a big difference between Justin Timberlake singing “I’m Lovin’ It” in a McDonald’s ad and Chris Brown weaving the Doublemint jingle he was paid to pen into a Top 40 hit.
And we can’t believe Brown’s Jive Records was ok with it. Incidentally, Jive is part of Sony BMG but was originally owned by Bertelsmann. No wonder Bertelsmann wants to get out of the music biz.
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