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November 20, 2008 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-11-20

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, November 20, 2008 - 38

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, November 20, 2008 - 38

Audible identities

Musical branding
company Muzak
lures customers with
targeted soundtracks
Daily Arts Writer
Close your eyes and imagine
you're in Abercrombie and Fitch.
Nightmarish, I know, but bear
with me. Semi-nude models; tiny,
torn clothes; headache-inducing
perfumes and blaring music - It's
the "Abercrombie experience."
Business professors love to focus
on differentiation, how creating
a brand-unique experience is key
to success in the retail industry.
Every company has an image to
sell, an idea to express and a story
to tell, and music can help build

that experience.
The obvious goal of any com-
pany is to create an experience
that gets the customer into the
store, keeps him there and keeps
him happy; a happy customer is
a spendthrift one. R&D depart-
ments in the retail world know
a lot of bizarre details about the
lives of their average customers,
but having all the data doesn't
mean you know what to do with
it. So lately, marketing companies
have been springing up to take
that data and put it to good use.
Muzak is one such company.
In the business of musical brand
marketing, it employs "audio
architects." The company designs
playlists for all types of establish-
ments, from Caribou Coffee to
Quiznos, J. Crew to Saks, Micro-
soft to UPS. These architects cre-
ate music collections that fit the
image of their clients' brands.

The company got its start as the
creator of "elevator music." Liter-
ally. Ever since the '30s, when its
tunes calmed nervous elevator
users,Muzakhasbeen strategical-
ly sculpting musical compilations
for companies looking to better
their business. Today, Muzak has
cornered the market of corporate
playlisting, boasting their clients'
increased sales as a demonstra-
tion of the power music holds over
So how does a sound architect
go about building a brand's audio
image? The power lies in the sub-
tle effect of background music.
A company's playlist will cater
toward the projected musical
tastes of the customers it intends
to attract. J. Crew's playlist, for
instance, will be exceedingly dif-
ferent from Abercrombie's. The
point is that an image can be

From Page 1B
kind of hidden behind his shy geek-
iness," she recounted.
Sandweiss has a small role in
"My Name is Bruce" as Bruce's ex-
wife, who, in a wink to "Evil Dead"
fans, is also named Cheryl. The film
is littered with these kinds of insid-
er-only references to his career
(nearly every movie he's made is
name-checked), and it plays as a
love letter to the twisted relation-
ship he has with his freakishly loyal
admirers. Many of the questions his
fans ask him in "My Name is Bruce"
come fromreal life.
"It's for the fans. There's no ques-
tion about it," Campbell said, allud-
ing to the movie's lukewarm critical
Most of the film's cast is made up
of familiar faces from Campbell's
past: Ted Raimi (Sam's brother)
appears in multiple roles, and he
also had character parts in the "Evil
Dead" trilogy and "Man with the
Screaming Brain." And Dan Hicks,
from "Maniac Cop" and "Evil Dead
II," plays a pig farmer. Campbell
has known these guys for a long
time and said their goal is to have
a company of people they can keep
falling back on, much like Christo-
pher Guest ("Waiting for Guffman")
or the Coen brothers (whom he has
worked with before).
Campbell noted that "My Name
isBruce"is intendedtobepure com-
edy, not a horror film. He describes

Bruce Campbell wrote and directed his new film "My Name is Bruce."

it as "a Bob Hope movie with decap-
itations." When asked if there are
any other kinds of films he would.
consider making besides horrors
and comedies, he mused, "I want'
to do a 'Walking Tall' movie some-
day - apoor guy comes to clean up
a small town."
But he won't touch a zombie film.
"I'll be honest with you, I pass on
any script that has either a zombie
in the story or in the title," he said.
"They're just terrible adversaries.
They mumble and they don't under-
stand English. They stumble around
and to me they're not scary... Give
me someone who's possessed, some-
one who knows your name. To me,
something like 'The Exorcist' is way
Campbell understands the popu-

lar appeal of B-movies, which is why
he's taking "My Name is Bruce" on
a 22-city tour. He's hosting screen-
ings followed by Q&A sessions on
his old stomping grounds, the Main
Art Theater in Royal Oak thisweek-
end, Nov. 21 to 23.
"We are taking the show to the
people," he said, hoping the audi-
ence will ask him questions differ-
ent from the idiotic ones his fans in
the movie throw at him. (For exam-
ple, one asks if working with Ellen
DeGeneres on her sitcom "Ellen"
turned him gay.)
"Otherwise," he threatened, ref-
erencing the fate of one of the fans,
"they're going to get shoved in front
of a bus." Whether in character or
in person, it's never wise to mess
with Bruce Campbell.

Coke, cologne and KEG

I've got the post-election
blues, knockin' around in
Ann Arbor
city. Sorry to'
start off with
an obscure Paul
Simon quote,,
but it's true: It's
tough to find
gossip when
liberal Hol- l
lywood finally
gets its way. The
last two weeks have been sorely
lacking in Sarah Palin parodies,
sarcastic "don't vote" viral videos
and photos of Spencer and Heidi
strolling Rodeo Drive holding rifles
and wearing trucker hats. Obama
girl has gone back to her old job,
the lucrative Saturday night shift
at the Spearmint Rhino.
Of course, the end of election
season doesn't mean the end of
celebrity problems. The pseudo-
feud between Scarlett Johans-
son and Lindsay Lohan recently
heated to a low simmer as Johans-
son addressed the reasons why
LiLo might've written "Scarlett
Johansson is a bloody cunt" on a
bathroom stall. "I don't know what
the motivation was behind that,"
Johansson admitted. But I do. I've
sent far more vulgar text mes-
sages after 12 vodka-red bulls and
a cocaine dinner. Maybe Lohan
was just frustrated by her recent
problems with PETA. Apparently,
she can't walk through the streets
of Paris wearing a snow-leopard
pelt without arousing the ire of the
activist group, who barraged her
with flour as she entered a swanky
nightclub Saturday night.
Her better half, Samantha
Ronson, quickly fired back with
a rebuttal blog post, which read a
bit like the Port Huron Statement
had it been written by a coked-out
DJ. "There are plenty of families
that could have used that flour for
ameal," Ronson concluded. Or, you
know, to cut your blow with so it
doesn't burn your nose so much. I
admire Ronson for (in)articulating
her point of view, but it's surprising
she went on the defensive, consider-
ingthe couple isn exatly on the
wayto the altar. "Things are very
difflcult at the moment," Lohan told

a friend, regarding her relationship
with Ronny, adding "I'm justtrying
to work out what to do." I assume
she meant who to do.
If nothing else, LiLo and Ron-
son's relationship has proven that
even wasted talents who can barely
stand on their own stilettos deserve
to find true love. Which is why Brit-
ney Spears has reportedly moved
on fromher disastrous cavalcade
of exes and is dating a mystery man
(sadly, it's not Mystery himself).
Finding love, however, isn't much
comfort when you're in the throes
of the worst existential crisis since
Franny Glass collapsed at Sickler's.
"There's no excitement, there's no
passion ... every day is Groundhog
Day," she laments in her upcom-
ing documentary "Britney: For the
PETA and LiLo:
major drama.
Record." She also mourns the deci-
sion to marry a man whose ideaof
a romantic dinner is reheated KFC
with a bottle of two-buck Chuck. "I
think I married (Kevin Federline)
for the wrong reasons. Instead of
following my heartand doingsome-
thing that made me really happy, I
just did it for the ideaof (marriage
and) everything." Yes, I believe
that's also why Obama ran for presi-
dent. It was really the idea of being
president that appealed to him, not
the job itself.
Speaking of Obama, few have
been as successful as he has the
last two weeks. And who knows
how to capitalize on the success
of others better than Puff Daddy?
(For personal reasons, I refuse to
call him by any of his more recent
nicknames.) That's why, two years
after releasing a cologne called
"Unforgivable," Puffy has unfor-
givably created an Obama-inspired

brand named "I am King." "When
you see Barack Obama, you see
a strong, elegantblack man and
when people see my ad, it's almost
like that's the trend," Puffy says of
the similarities between the Presi-
dent-elect and his one-ounce bottle
of scented water. The cologne's
nickname, according to the ad, is
"The Scented Salamander." Funny,
that's my nickname for ... oh, never
mind. That one's too easy.
These exploits have been fairly
petty, even for a gossip column.
So I'll close with some seriously
terrible shit happening to celebri-
ties all across the country. It just
may make you feel better about
your own life. First, Miley Cyrus is
dead. Well, at least according to the
genius who hacked her YouTube
account and posted this message:
"Miley died this morning after
being hitby a drunk driver." Yep,
that's definitely the way the most
overexposed pop star since Britney
herself would be sent off: With a
one-sentence obituary.
In all seriousness, though,
Christopher Lloyd's $6 million
dollar house was destroyed in
one of Los Angeles's famous fires
this weekend. I don't see this as
a problem, since ol' Doc Brown
can just throw some leftover
McDonald's into a coffee maker
and make sure the whole thing
never happens. Celebrities without
access to Delorean time-machines
include Heather Locklear, whose
D.U.I. picture is the most outra-
geous since George Clinton's, and
Michael Jackson, who is being
sued by Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad
Al Khalifa for failing to repay a
$7 million debt. Hmm. Would
you rather be a Bahraini prince
or the (dethroned) king of pop?
Or maybe, like Paul Simon, you'd
rather be a sparrow than a snail.
Schultz challenges you to the
Vodka-Red Bull challenge. E-mail
him at markthos@umich.edu.

=W"Mmw MEW 1 i

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