Feist is Shilling for Lacoste

While watching CBC Newsworld, I saw an ad for Lacoste that featured Leslie Feist’s “Mushaboom”. I really dig Feist, but this licks. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I’d like to believe that musicians would have enough integrity to not license their music for advertising.

I’ve quoted these lyrics before, but Feist ought to take a page from her fellow Canadian’s songbook:

I ain’t singing for Pepsi
I ain’t singing for Coke
I ain’t singing for nobody
Makes me look like a joke

I guess I’m not watching enough TV, because apparently this ad has been airing for at least eight months. Here’s a CBC article that briefly discusses the Lacoste ad.


  1. While I admire Neil Young’s stance, he also has the luxury of having made millions of dollars in the old music business. The musicians I know who make a living at it (and while I get paid for music, it wouldn’t keep me fed on its own) do all sorts of work: live gigs, selling recordings, merchandise, playing in studios and for hire, cover bands, and work for hire.

    In other words, you can make a living a musician, but most musicians who want to do that need to treat it as a job and a business that has multiple revenue streams.

    Some people can afford, and desire, “purity” in artistic expression. And some of them die poor. But you know, if it’s a choice between sending some payola to Clear Channel, dressing up in shiny jackets and speaking fake Scouse on the side, or *taking* money and getting exposure from Volkswagen, I’d go with the jackets (which I have) or the Fahrvergnügen (which I haven’t been offered).

  2. Yeah the ad has been around for awhile.

    In my mind, it doesn’t change how terrific her music is – I’m happy for her success.

    I’m guessing that U2 fans are A-OK with iPod ads too.

    (Not being a U2 fan, I cannot really say)

  3. Yes, but U2 is and has always been squarely a mainstream band so their iPod promo didn’t come as a surprise to me. However, Feist has been marketed as an indie artist and it’s disconcerting to see her shilling for Lacoste, which has in recent years rebranded themselves as a luxury preppy label.

  4. Must be a different commercial. I never saw her in anything. Just heard one of her songs.

    Either way, I don’t think indie artists should frowned upon for making money. I’d hate to think that Leslie stops and asks herself ‘how will this affect my indie image?’ everytime someone wants to pay her for her work.

  5. Maybe she did, and her answer was, “Negatively. But not negatively enough that I won’t do it.” How many albums would she have to sell to make the same amount of money that Lacoste is paying her? What would she have to do to get the same exposure while maintaining her indie cred?

    Hell, I didn’t even know who she was until this comment thread. And I still wouldn’t if not for Lacoste (and Darren’s disappointment about that)…

  6. Isn’t this where we invoke the name of Moby, and point out he promoted his first big album substantially through licensing songs?

    Seriously: if “integrity” is the value-adding market positioning that some artist chooses to adopt, well, whatever sells albums. But I’m not sure why, in general, selling your music to advertisers (and in particular, Lacoste? What’s wrong, db, were you beat up by a polo shirt?) should be any more of a sell-out than, oh, selling albums, busking, or doing promotional appearances.

    I think “sell-out” in this context is once again being used as a shorthand for “trying to make a better living at making music after I became a fan.”

  7. I have no qualms with artists “selling out” per se, (heck, I envy their position to do so), but artists like Moby and U2 were solidly established artists before they “sold out”, while I feel Leslie Feist is still working on establishing herself as an artist. “Let It Die” was good enough for a debut album, but by no means excellent (uneven, to start, and she isn’t doing much new that Beth Orton and Chan Marshall haven’t already spent years cultivating a niche for.)

    Her album seemed to me pretty aggressively marketed (but then again I’m probably in her target demographic) and while she has done some good work in Broken Social Scene and Peaches (sorry for sounding like a namedropper), I think she’s still far from being a mature artist. Her association with Lacoste may be premature, turning off her former indie fans (I find it a little tacky.) But I guess the tradeoff with losing loyal fans is gaining a new audience, one with deeper pockets and loves Lacoste. Trading up.

    I sound like I’m trashing her, but I did enjoy her album and prefer her over U2 and Moby, and I’m awaiting her new album with trepidation.

  8. Feist isn’t making much coin. If I was her I’d have done the same thing. Not like Canada’s helping out their own decent artists or anything.

  9. Harp: “Not like Canada’s helping out their own decent artists or anything.” Er, sorry, but I think Canadian content laws are a major boon to Canadian artists. Not only do they help generate a following domestically, but they help the artist make the leap to international stardom. Look at the march of Canadian musicians we’ve sent south in the past decade.

    Sure, I’d like to see more arts funding, but not necessarily for mainstream pop and rock musicians. Unfortunately, there ‘s very little political will (or, frankly, value in the electorate).

  10. Long time past, it was necessary for rock and pop musicians to play the record label game to be heard. So, that relationship in itself did not mean the artist’s integrity was compromised. These days, it’s a different story. With the corporatization of the record industry an act today has pretty much already sold their soul once they sign a record “deal”. Not surprising then most don’t object to shilling for products. No excuse for it though.

    The Washington Post has come up with the “Moby Equation” for a fun way to measure sellouts. http://projects.washingtonpost.com/2007/sellout-songs

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: