Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.

2006-04-18

You can lead a beluga whale to water...


Well, this graphic designer has decided to tackle a bit of marketing. Remember Raffi? The beloved performer behind Baby Beluga, Down by the Sea, Bannana Phone among others? Well, I was watching CBC News Sunday, minding my own business, and there he was.

From The CBC Sunday Website:

The singer known as Raffi has sold a record 15-million children's albums. But now he's going after a grown-up audience. As Sunday's Peter Wall discovered, Raffi's choice of genre is more than a bit surprising.
And the genre? It’s rap.

I’ll just let that sink in for a moment.

Ready? Ok. Now with this new album (titled Resisto-Dancing, by the way) Raffi is attempting to speak out to the generation which comprised his original fan bas (those who would go to his concerts as children when Baby Beluga was first released.) He is trying to promote a new project of his called Child Honouring, aimed at changing the way society acts in regards to its children.

Problem is, it’s awful, not just in theory, but in practice too. They played some of it on the CBC Sunday show, and as much as I love Raffi, the man simply isn’t gangsta.

So what if rap was indeed the favoured music of this target audience? Theoretically, by knowing his target audience, Raffi should be well on his way. The problem is, Raffi seems to have forgotten who he is. Raffi putting out a rap album is so contrary to his nature, it’s like…advertising an SUV as being a great outdoorsy vehicle, or maybe promoting an oil and gas company as being environmentally friendly, or claiming a fast food company is healthy.

Wait a minute, I’ve seen those things happen. Of course the audiences didn’t buy it, of course there was rampant criticism, but they still continue today.

So what is the moral of my tale? You may want to target rap fans, outdoorsy people, or people concerned with the environment or their health, but unless the new image is complimentary to your current brand, message or product, get ready to fail. Raffi would have done better if he’d produced the album with another vocalist, and avoid contributing his own vocals. Or, he could always have released a folk album for adults.
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