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Product-placement pioneers: the hair-metal band Autograph

Jon Fine of BusinessWeek has a great post about one of the earliest-known examples of product placement in a music video: the pen company Paper Mate’s sponsorship of Autograph’s 1984 video for “Turn Up the Radio”:

Yes, this actually happened: In 1984 Paper Mate found an unknown poodle-rock band called Autograph, gave ‘em some bucks, and got their product a starring role in said band’s debut video. Paper Mate even teamed up their pens with the band in some promotional posters too. …

I was going to make fun of this in a brutal fashion, for all the obvious reasons–how ’bout that dude gliding across the stage whilst flashing a transistor radio! how ’bout an era in which “heavy metal” and “hard rock”
encompassed bands with as much tooth as a pop-tart?–and cite this as a classic example of a Failed Product Placement. But this video got a decent amount of airplay on MTV, and Autograph’s debut album ended up going
gold.

Here’s the video. I have a vague memory that I actually knew the pens were product placement:

Read the rest of Jon Fine’s post here.