The Movie Tie-In Music Video is Dead, Long Live the Commercial Music Video

Play buttonLike Will Smith’s rap career, the movie tie-in music video is a relic of another era. These movie tie-in music videos were ubiquitous in the 80s and 90s, with stars like Michael Jackson (“Free Willy”), Celine Dion (“Titanic”), and Aerosmith (“Armageddon”) getting in on the craze. Some of the decade’s biggest pop hits were based on movie tie-ins, though now, in the Instagram era, the concept seems hopelessly dated.

That doesn’t mean pop stars are unable to turn their music videos into commercial opportunities, however. Just as movie studios were once eager to hire a celebrity to promote an upcoming blockbuster film, now brands are looking to hire a celebrity spokesperson for their advertising campaigns.

Case in point: Katy Perry just debuted her new Christmas song “Every Day is a Holiday” in a commercial for clothing retailer HandM. And, of course, no major advertising campaign would be complete in 2015 without a hashtag to go along with it.

As Americans all over the country get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, HandM and Katy Perry are doing a full-court press to promote the store’s #HappyAndMerry campaign. So is it a music video posing as a commercial, or a commercial posing as a music video? While advertising has changed in the 21st century, the lines between pop music and commerce are just as blurry as ever.

“Celebrity endorsement directly increases brand perception, power and profits, but more importantly it does so by creating an “aura” that gives your brand value far beyond the attributes of your product itself,” says Christopher Lawrence, CEO, Celebrity Endorsement Agency, Inc. “As technology and our daily lives continue to merge into an “always on” media-driven society, leverage of a celebrity’s personality, recognizability, and fan base has become almost mandatory if brands want to maximize their reach, influence and market share.”

The commercial music video seems geared towards these viral times, featuring creepy kids painted snow-white, a topless male model on the hood of a cherry-red sports car, and Katy Perry dressed as a nutcracker that’s equal parts beautiful and terrifying.

According to the video’s official YouTube description, “The Makers of Happy and Merry! It’s the season of celebrate and we’ve got a reason. Our festive fairy Katy Perry casts her magic spell and takes us on an action-packed, fun-filled parade through the #HMHoliday season in our #HappyandMerry campaign.”

On Instagram, Perry has also been promoting a line of holiday onesies.

For celebrity advertising, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.