Mother Monster Makes Most Important Ad of the Century

On the finale of Saturday Night Live, Google debuted a new ad with Lady Gaga. There have been better ads, but this may be the most important television ad aired in the US since Apple's 1984 ad. I think it will be studied in advertising classes alongside Volkswagon's lemon ad and the Apple ad. Here's why:

  • After public attempts to work with the record labels, Google is working directly with a recording artist. Chrysler and Eminem did that a couple of months ago, Pepsi and Madonna did that a couple of decades ago. But...

 

  • Pepsi and Chrysler weren't in the midst of negotiating wide-ranging deals with the labels. Are those deals -- for a cloud-based music service blessed by the studios -- dead for sure now?

 

  • This ad was radically mainstream and radically disruptive, at the same time. Aired on a broadcast network, the product celebrated the undermining of traditional media controls, by...

 

  • Showing a diverse set of YouTube clips of dancers and singers imitating Lady Gaga. Not too long ago, those were copyright violations -- they were the predatory weeds that had grown up in YouTube's garden, sucking the life away from original acts. Now Google promotes those clips as the garden's most interesting flowers. And...

 

  • Lady Gaga herself is the gardener. Not YouTube. Not Google. Instead, they've created an ecosystem in which an artist can inspire fans to join her in embracing the "monster" ethos -- a lifestyle that celebrates being the other. And yet...

 

  • This "other" is one of the mainstream recording world's top grossing stars. In the ad, Lady Gaga uses Google's social media tools to connect with her "little monsters" -- her partners in a rebellion against a tyranny of traditional views of beauty. She tells her fans that all of the dance clips and homages and covers and parodies inspire her. So...

 

  • Google, one of the largest, richest companies in the world, has partnered with Lady Gaga, one of the most successful pop stars alive, to buy an ad on NBC, the oldest television network in the world, to tell a story of otherness, outrage and subversion. In other words...

 

  • Lady Gaga's ethos of artistic otherness -- fly your freak flag! -- embedded in Google's business of business model disruption -- cut out the middle men, including iTunes! -- form a new kind of congruence between art and commerce. Also...

 

  • I really like the ad. Did you?