More and more advertisers are using under-the-radar musical acts to burnish their own credentials, and now Supercuts is jumping on the bandwagon with "Rock the Cut," a pun-riddled integrated push by ad agency Element 79 that likens the hair-salon chain's stylists to aspiring rock stars—or something. The TV work, which the client describes as "documentary style" but feels more like testimonials, pairs indie acts like four-piece Vintage Trouble with Supercuts employees, and shows the artists alternately performing songs and chatting about how awesome their Supercuts haircuts are—endorsements echoed by the stylists, who go on about how awesome the Supercuts haircuts they provided are. "You have a pride in the way you step out into public, especially when you have a good haircut," says Ty Taylor, Vintage Trouble's frontman, in one of the 60-second spots below. "You're going to leave looking like a rock star," Supercuts hairdresser Diana reassures the camera.
Tying music, which tends to be inherently image conscious, into advertising for a salon chain isn't as much of a stretch as it might be for other categories (hardware or laundry detergent, for example). But Supercuts' mass-market status, and the gung-ho praise from the artists, makes the campaign feel like a more blatant than usual grab for authenticity—the instinct that drives most big advertisers' interest in indie music. (Brands get to pretend they're edgier than they actually are, while bands get cash and exposure.)
Beyond the broadcast component, Supercuts is diving deeper into the niches of obscure acts with an online hub featuring tracks and bios from more than 600 artists in a range of genres; four custom channels on Clear Channel-owned Internet music service iHeartRadio; and concert promotions through Live Nation. The featured bands are tasked with promoting the brand on major social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and Pinterest, which means Supercuts' marketing tentacles are even further entwined in the musicians' relationships with their audiences—molding fundamentally countercultural artists into a small army of corporate endorsers.
Play on, brave new world.
Campaign: "Rock the Cut"
Agency: Element 79, Chicago
Account Team: Jerry Conner, Elizabeth Miller, Stacie Dunn
Executive Creative Director: Canice Neary
Creative Director: Chris Laubach
Art Directors: Ryan Bloecker, Dan Cosgrove
Copywriters: Tim Cerullo, Prashant Nashi
Agency Producer: Michael Gabriele
Print Producer/Art Buyer: Jennifer Niccum
Digital Direction: Tom Napper, Ryan Carlos, Brad Simpson, Ashley Wohl
Music/Sponsorship Agency: GMR Marketing, Milwaukee
Social Media Agency: Zócalo Group, Chicago
TV Director: Barney Miller
Production Company: Detox
Executive Producer/Line Producer: Rachelle Madden
Print Director/Photographer: John Boehm
Editing House: Hooligan, New York
Senior Editor: Barney Miller
Co-Editors: Jordan Green, Erin Bowser
Assistant Editor: Erin Bowser
EP: Sue Wladar
Telecine: Nice Shoes/Lez Rudge
FC Color: Matt Rosenblum
Flame: TANQ/Andrew Granelli
Audio: Shout It Out Loud
Sound Designer/Engineer: Dan Dzula
Featured Musicians: Vintage Trouble, Ken Loi, Laura Bell Bundy, Gold Motel