Is it time to be like Prince?

Maybe lockdown has me stir crazy and I am looking at everything through the lens of the current situation and marketing specifically, but on Twitter Mark Ritson shared a wonderful video of Prince, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne, and others perform “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at the 2004 Hall of Fame Inductions, celebrating George Harrison being inducted, that got me thinking.

Maybe I should just enjoy it for the little bit of joy that Mr. Ritson was sprinkling into our mostly po-faced social feeds, but what got my marketing cogs whirring is that the performance looks to me like marketing today.

However great or good you are at marketing, we are playing the same, slightly melancholy song, about how our guitar is weeping, overlayed with how we hope your guitar is not weeping and if it is, we are here to help.

That’s the first three and a half minutes of the video.

There is wonderful talent on display, all strumming along, singing the song, all perfectly pleasant. George Harrison, a Beatle no less, had fairly recently died, this was a tribute to him as he was being inducted to the hall of fame, it’s his song being played with empathy by legends of his industry.

Then at 3.30 Prince does an (apparently) unrehearsed solo.

You see him edge in from the side of the stage and then build into OWNING the performance.

And this video is shared and talked about not because of the songwriting or how this band of considerable fame and talent kept time and harmony to make the very pleasant three and a half minutes. It is talked about for this solo performance.

In this current situation will there be an opportunity to disrupt the current low key performance of marketing and be like Prince? Grab this weeping guitar tune and play?

He stays in tune, he takes the band along with him, he doesn’t piss anyone off, but he PLAYS.

As Mark Ritson himself wrote near the start of this thing “Forget about empathetic emails and start making your brand money“.

Since I read the article, it’s now behind the paywall, so you’ll need to pay or trust me on this, but in it, he says “Get the f**k on with it rather than spending time on labels, press releases and comms”

Is it time to listen to Ritson and be like Prince?

It’s a tough question.

In the meantime – enjoy 🙂