Page last updated at 09:09 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Pop stars warned off making 'abysmal' adverts

By Ian Youngs
Music reporter, BBC News

Blur have allowed selected advertisers to use their music

Blur's manager has warned pop and rock stars to think carefully before appearing in TV adverts for big brands.

Referring to two campaigns, Chris Morrison said: "I think Duffy's Coca-Cola ad was abysmal and I think Robbie Williams on T Mobile was terrible.

"I don't think either of those two things did any favours to the artists' careers or the way they're perceived.

"I think you have to be very, very careful about how you associate with brands," Mr Morrison added.

There was a "great danger of music being 'corporatised'", he warned.


A clip from Duffy's commercial which prompted complaints abut cycling safety

His comments came at the Midem music conference in Cannes, where US hip-hop star Pharrell Williams had advised new acts to approach ad agencies, ahead of record labels, to help launch their careers.

Ads that featured a star's music but not the star themselves were "less troublesome", Mr Morrison said.

Blur themselves have allowed their tracks to be used in commercials.

Their 1997 hit Song 2 has made the band 20 times as much money through use in ads, TV shows and film soundtracks than record sales, Mr Morrison revealed.

But they did refuse one request, he said.

"Northrop Grumann, which is an American defence contractor, got in touch with us and asked if they could use the song for their trade shows to promote the next generation of stealth fighters," he said.

"We thought that was probably inappropriate. The money was great but we turned it down."

Duffy sang 1960s track I Gotta Be Me in the Diet Coke advert

Mr Morrison also manages virtual band Gorillaz, who saw the first single from their new album leaked on the internet last week.

He protested that pre-release leaks and illegal file-sharing would weaken the ability of the music industry to invest in new acts in decades to come.

Pharrell Williams recently compared file-sharing to "taste-testing", but Mr Morrisson responded: "It's not, it's giving them the whole meal.

"It's walking into the restaurant and saying: 'Help yourself to whatever food I've got.' It's not getting a taste any longer.

"Piracy could be stopped and I think we should take the gloves off and say it has to be stopped."

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