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Music Video Turns Into H2 Spot

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Hip-hop culture meets General Motors in a music video/commercial hybrid from Modernista! that furthers blurs the line between content and commerce.

The agency collaborated with rap artist/producer Timbaland to make a video for "Ching Ching Ching," by hip-hop newcomer Miss Jade, that features the Hummer H2. The video was edited into 60- and 30-second spots, which break today. The video broke last week on cable channel BET.

No logo or tagline will appear in the spots. Viewers are directed to www.chingchingching.com, which has a link to the Hummer Web site. The initiative was co-funded by GM and Interscope Records, Timbaland's and Miss Jade's label.

The effort is in addition to the Boston shop's current H2 "Like nothing else" campaign, which debuted in August 2001. The concept was developed by Modernista! co-founder and creative director Lance Jensen with associate creative directors Shane Hutton and Will Uronis.

Distinguishing content from commerce is increasingly difficult as advertisers seek better ways to get their messages across. Last week, for example, Ford Motor Co. broke a spot featuring Toby Keith that copies the look of the country star's music videos. Last month, Ace Hardware introduced commercials with sports commentator John Mad den that mimic the appearance of Mon day Night Football.

GM has long been in the vanguard of the trend, placing its vintage Pontiac GTO in the summer action film XXX and using the Madonna song "Secret" in a recent GM corporate ad, in an attempt to align the brand with a younger audience.

"The idea is not just putting a truck in a video, but coming up with this link to all different points of interest in one piece of communication," said Jensen.

Liz Vanzura, advertising director at Hummer, called the effort "one of the next trends in marketing—a natural extension of what we've been seeing. Marketers are always looking for innovative ways to expand the brand message."

Vanzura said H2 views its target audience in terms of psychographics. "There's a certain mind-set: entrepreneurial, free-spirited, risk-taking, self-assured," she said.

Hummer spends about $20 million annually on advertising. Neither the agency nor the client would disclose the media spend for the hip-hop initiative, but the effort gets some amount of free exposure via the music video.