The 1980s and Music Videos

April 14, 2018By

The reason why Product Placement has been so successfully incorporated in music videos is that they have been of such a high quality that the wide scale viewing of them has provided an ideal advertising arena for many companies to exploit. The 1980s is the perfect decade to explore as this was the time that music videos emerged with the creation of MTV.

Prior to this time there had been videos, but they were basically put together in a ad-hoc fashion in order to provide fans with extra information about an artist or even to cover for a music act when they were unable to appear on a music show.

Duran Duran in Sri Lanka

The creation of MTV with a channel playing music videos 24 hours a day completely changed people’s attitudes towards them. Bands were now prepared to invest more money in the production of them and now emerging directors were keen to work on them as career moves. Certain acts were tailor made for music videos. Duran Duran were a relatively successful new wave band prior to videos, but as soon as they had access to this new resource they released a number of hit singles accompanied by glamorous videos.

They were helped that their natural good looks made them the cameras dream but they were also well managed. They were happy to travel different parts of the world to get the best camera shots. The video for “Hungry Like the Wolf” was shot on location in the forests of Sri Lanka. It recreated the atmosphere of the film “Raiders of the Lost Arc”.

When the single was first released in the US it failed to reach the top 100. However, after MTV continually played the video it reached number 3 on the billboard hot 100 chart. The group also shot the video for Rio on the Island of Antigua in the West Indies sailing around in a yacht and the continuing glamorization of these videos appealed more and more to advertisers who wanted to be associated with them. A-ha were another band who had the natural good looks that were tailor made to appear on video, but it was the quality of their production for the single “Take on Me” that resulted in them winning six awards at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.

Michael Jackson in Thriller

The bands were seen in numerous sketches and the video has been viewed over 600 million times on Youtube. Initially the song was a flop but after the video was released it ended upon being a huge hit for the band. Michael Jacksons single “Thriller” was another single that benefited greatly from large sums of money being invested in its video. Directed by John Landis the video lasted for 14 minutes and prior to its release rumors of its content had millions of fans around the world waiting eagerly to view it.

The major attraction of any Jackson performance was his dancing, and, in the video, Landis captured the stars ability in this area. There was huge investment in all areas of the shoot, and the video was seen as the breakthrough in merging film making and music. It has been cited as many experts as being the greatest music video of all time.

One of the bands who may have surprised many with the quality of a video that they produced were the British band Dire Straits with their release for their single “Money for Nothing”. They were not the typical type of artists that were releasing such videos in the 1980s. They had a more traditional look about them, yet the quality of the video is seen as one of the best to have emerged out of that period.

They were one of the first bands to use computer-animated human characters. This combined with the fact that the single in its own right was a very good record and the result was a huge hit for the band. The 1980s saw much money invested in music videos and many artists reaped the rewards.

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