Brands & Merch Howdy Partner

Howdy Partner #1: Brand Partnership Quote Watch

By | Published on Thursday 6 September 2012

Katy Perry

Making money from recordings is a thing of the past, and performing live is nowhere near as lucrative as some would have you believe. So, if you want to make music for the rest of your life, you’re just going to have to find yourself a big brand to hand over a bucket of cash. And all you have to do in return is say how great their product is. Brilliant!

Except it’s not quite as easy as all that. Firstly, now that everyone’s throwing themselves at brands, you have to do something beyond just standing and smiling at a press event. There must be a concept, a reason your brand alliance is different. Maybe there’s some clever twist to how your music is used, or the brand funds some cool event for you to headline. You might even ‘join’ the company and get a nice made up job title.

Well, gee, this is actually starting to sound like fun. Except for one thing, the folks at the brand still expect you to turn up and say nice things about their products. Pretending to be a company’s Creative Director is one thing, saying stuff is quite another. As artists prove time and time again.

Actually, to be fair, the nonsense that apparently spouts from various celebrities’ mouths when they announce a new brand partnership probably never went anywhere near their vocal chords at all. Those words are probably all thought up by a group of marketers and PRs, which explains why they always sound like something no single human would ever say. But still, presumably the artists have to approve the quotes attributed to them, and yet few seem to at any point ever say: “You know what? You’re making me sound like an idiot, let’s try this again”.

Here’s a quick example from Tiesto, when he signed up to help promote Guess jeans: “I’ve had Guess clothing in my wardrobe for years. It’s a fantastic brand which is really relevant both for me and my audience. Their combination of creativity and ambition was really appealing to me”.

Who would ever say that? It’s “really relevant both for me and my audience”. What? Presumably the “creativity” mentioned there was the nice way they wrote out a cheque, and the “ambition” that appealed to him was the company’s ambition for him to take that cheque to his bank. But let’s move on to something a bit more skilful in its ridiculousness.

“Anything creative always piques my interest”, said Jennifer Lopez recently, announcing her new role as a ‘curator’ at t-shirt company, Teeology. Yeah, she’s a creative person, and absolutely anything creative is right up her street – from making someone a birthday card to smearing poo on a wall. That’s not what she’s doing here though, she hastened to add: “This is a different type of online experience where you get to be involved in which designs get made. And it gives us a beeline to what people really like”.

So, via this brand deal J Lo not only gets to be creative by curating t-shirts (whatever the hell that means), she also gets to stay in touch with the little people, those from ‘the block’, perhaps. Perfect. And, what’s more, Jenny loves t-shirts: “I live in t-shirts when I’m not doing the red carpet. I love the sexy, casual feel and the way a good t-shirt makes you feel cool”.

“It’s like you’re not trying too hard”, she added, ironically.

Speaking of trying too hard, Timbaland recently launched a new drink brand, LeSUTRA, which he promoted thus: “Everything that I create is groundbreaking and LeSUTRA is no different. With its innovative ingredients and design, I’m confident that we’ll gain a loyal and eclectic consumer base. My infectious style has helped produce career-defining hits for artists worldwide, and now I’m guaranteeing another hit with LeSUTRA”.

Whoa there, Timby. No need to be quite so modest. But even that doesn’t take the crown for recent artist quotes on brand press releases. That award goes to Katy Perry, who in July was announced as a new investor, ambassador and creative partner for Popchips, which makes a range of healthy crisps, or something.

“I remember it was late at night, and I was craving a midnight snack without the guilt”, she began. It’s a situation we’re all familiar with – wishing to quell a slight hunger that’s keeping us awake, but afraid that by morning the bed might have collapsed after we ballooned in weight. Anyway, she continued: “The bag stood out in the minibar, and I was pleasantly surprised when I read the back of the label and saw that it was a healthier choice. I was hooked after my first bite!”

They were just lying there in the hotel room! It was complete chance! Katy had never seen a bag of Popchips before this incident, and had definitely not had any meetings with marketing people at the company. In fact, quite the opposite: “When I discover something good, I want to share it with everyone I know, so I tweeted about it; Popchips came to me, and I’ve decided to invest in Popchips and join the team as a creative partner!”

What a fortunate and mutually beautiful turn of events. Makes you want to weep, doesn’t it? We’ll continue to look out for the very finest examples of brand partnership artist quotes for this occasional new series. If you see anything worthy of mention on your travels, please email it to