After enjoying Bob Seger's rendition of "America The Beautiful" in person during the first game of the World Series this past weekend, I was all ready to hear how Anita Baker would do singing the "Star-Spangled Banner" during game two last night. So it was rather weird for me to see a quartet of acoustical instruments set up along the first-base line — and in fact, I remember commenting to a certain commenter, "When did Anita Baker get a band?" Around 90 seconds later I realized what was finally going on when John "Cougar" Mellencamp stepped out onto the field — and I realized just how far Chevy was going in marketing the new 2007 Chevy Silverado as I heard the "Cougar" strum the beginning notes to a song that's become like a soundtrack to my life, "Our Country." I mean, it really hasn't become the soundtrack to my life, but considering the $400 million marketing campaign Chevy's got going — it sort of feels like it is. But apparently, some folks out there don't quite like the Mellencampy tone being struck...
...by the ad campaign. We've already discussed our thoughts on the matter — and like a chorus of background singers, they were echoed by Seth Stevenson over at Slate. Now the Detroit area radio stations are getting into the mix over what they're seeing as a breech in protocol — Mellencamp's signing of the "Our Country" song at the start of the game — before Anita Baker's performance of the "Star-Spangled Banner." Local rock-out-with-their-cock-out radio DJ's Drew and Mike, of WRIF (Baby!) in Detroit took Mellencamp to task on this morning's show, and as reported in the Freep:
John Mellencamp's performance of "This Is My Country" just before World Series Game 2 in Detroit Sunday night was not taken kindly to Monday on Detroit radio.
A typical response came on WRIF-FM 's(101.1) "Drew & Mike" program. The morning duo accused Mellencamp of selling out, writing the song for monetary reasons.
It is featured on a Chevrolet truck commercial. The pair suggested they wouldn't be surprised if Chevy approached him to write a patriotic song that could be used in a commercial. Mellencamp hasn't released an album of new material in six years.
And although Maura Johnston over at our brother/sister site obsessed with music was quick to tell us when I asked her this morning what she thought of the charge levied by the WRIF's dastardly duo,
"I dunno. It's pretty standard mellencamp fare...and i do know that he's been working on material for a new album."
I think I'd agree with Maura on this — Chevy probably didn't ask Mellencamp to write the song for them (I've put in an e-mail and text to a few folks over at Chevy to find out for sure), but what I do know is that the decision to throw Mellencamp up there in Detroit was a very strange call by Chevy's marketing team. Especially considering the virulent love the Metro Detroit area's got for their legends — like former Chevy songsman Bob Seger — weren't they a little concerned there'd be some backlash against Mellencamp performing here in Detroit? Seems to us they might've chosen a better location — like St. Louis perhaps — for such an attempt at commercialization not involving one of Detroit's favorite sons songs.
Still, it was rather funny watching Fox's cameras panning the obviously not-paying-attention crowd when they weren't capturing shots of Brandon Inge taking a spit break. In fact, when it appeared that some kids were watching the goings-on, the money shot's got to be the boy's utterly confused face — he's probably wondering the same thing we are — "WTF?"
Mellancamp songs draws criticism [Freep]
UPDATE: Chevy truck PR's main maven let us know a few minutes ago that "Mellencamp approached...Campbell Ewald with the song." So that settles that part of it.
Our Crooner, Our Truck: Bob Seger To Sing National Anthem For Game One Of The Chevrolet-Sponsored World Series; America, Truck Yeah! Chevrolet Drops "Our Country, Our Truck" Silverado Marketing Campaign Like A Nuclear Bomb; Slate Doesn't Like You, Chevrolet. We Don't Like You Either!; Ad Watch Exclusive: Stephen Colbert, Don't Steal This Chevy Silverado Commercial Too! [internal]