Sunday, May 08, 2011

How to Make a Hit Music Video Hint: Sex More Sex & Rock & Roll (Robert Palmer, Adam Ant, Mister Mister)

How do you make a successful music video? Since the dawn of the MTV or music television era, there has been one steady standby that works decade after decade. It's called SEX. Sex sells. Simply hire the most attractive models you can afford and have a choreographer come up with a few moves for them to perform in sync with your music. It's really simple and it works. Let's take a look at purist examples of this technique from the golden age

Here in 1988 Robert Palmer wasn't taking any chances there are enough women here to keep the eyes busy with Simply Irresistible. It spawned many imitations and while it was well received by males, it was considered a somewhat sexist and misogynist bit of video-making by the culture police.

Flash forward a few years later to 1990. Adam Ant, a familiar name from the early-80's British invasion, is trying to make a comeback. Following in the 'hire-the-sexiest models you can find' format he released Rough Stuff:

It was never as popular as Palmer's hit, but it is memorable for taking the style approach and just pushing the envelope. The full version which focuses on a lot of fit female pelvic motion was cut and considered too racy for 1990 music videos.

This basic approach to music video making is pretty inexpensive. A studio, some models, a make-up artist, and your talent are all that's needed to produce this style video and it almost always will capture a lot of the video viewing audience.

What's the second most popular gimmick in music video making? The classic convertible is the fall back for low-budget yet memorable video making. Tons of videos feature the artists cruising in a vintage convertible. Let's look at an example or two:

Here's 1985 and Mister Mister's hit Broken Wings:

That's now a timeless classic and inspired a whole ad campaign from Taco Bell a few years later which featured lots of classic convertibles, celebrities and tacos. That campaign revitalized the stale Taco Bell brand boosting sales all the way into the early 90s - here a 1994 commercial, even going so far as to imitating the convertible break down seen in Broken Wings:

This is in one way the triple hit: Sex, Cars and Food. Attractive young people in a convertible is a sure fire success tip for music video making. don't believe me? C'mon do I have to prove it to you? Yep...I guess I do:

Yes, Rebecca Black's now infamous video, Friday, features the reliable convertible stand-by to video success. Had they used professional models instead of her friends who knows how popular it would have been?

There are literally thousands of other videos which feature these elements. I just wanted to show some of the purist examples.

Is any of this a substitute for raw talent? Heck no. This little curtain lift is just to reveal the time-worn gimmicks that hold people's attention and play on the human desire for love, affection and security which in their lowest common denominator forms manifest as SEX and POPULARITY.

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