I just saw ZEEBRA’s new single “Shining Like a Diamond” on MTV and had to share it. In part of what seems to be a trend of blatant advertising in music videos (which are themselves supposed to be advertisements for a single … my head is spinning).
The narrative: May J fellates a Snickers bar to lure Japanese rapper Zeebra into what I call the “Snickers dimension”, which consists of a multi-racial harem and mountains of Snickers bars. I don’t know how the women keep so trim with nothing but Snickers to eat. Just watch:
Obviously, the other product pushed in the song is diamonds (though Bacardi gets a token mention), which I have seen quite often in Japanese music videos lately. Quite unlikely to be coincidence (just as the sudden Japanese “acceptance” of depression is less a sign of social progress as it is of pharm. companies looking to turn a profit).
One distinction I want to draw – the flashy consumerism that US rappers tout in their songs is more fixated on high-end items like expensive jewelry, Bentleys, and other rewards for making it big against all odds. While there are examples of very crude product placement (Nelly’s “Air Force Ones” comes to mind) in general there’s a process to either (a) select products that are a natural part of the lifestyle (pouring Cristal on strippers fits right in, for example); or (b) at least make the argument that they belong there when there’s some discrepancy (“gangsters don’t dance they… lean back” in promoting the “two-step” dance or 50 Cent bragging about his investment prowess in a line about how Coca Cola purchased his energy drink startup).
This video is totally gratuitous in its pushing of Snickers – the song has nothing to do with it and there’s nothing really indicating how Snickers gained the magic power to transport people to magic multi-racial orgyland. Of course, it’s kind of missing the point to expect US-style product sensibilities from 36-year-old Zeebra. The single father of two is a salaried member of SOLOMON I＆I PRODUCTION and as a result could never dream of US-style sky-high record deals, and I’m willing to bet 120 yen (the going rate for a candy bar in Tokyo) that he doesn’t see much in the way of extra cash from the Snickers deal. It sure wasn’t his idea in the first place.
Anyway the sheer artlessness of it all made me laugh my ass off as I finished up the dishes tonight.