October 31, 2008
Can AC/DC Brand Naming Become Mainstream at Walmart?
AC/DC's new album, "Black Ice," is number one in the country, which is great news for metal fans and pretty interesting for marketers, since the album is only available at Walmart.
This success has some critics of the Walmart only strategy eating their words. Even Satan himself seems mystified that this band, which was the scourge of parents everywhere throughout the 80's largely because of its dubious name, along with albums like Highway to Hell, has found favor in the aisles of a company that is routinely criticized for censoring artistic freedom in the name of deep discounts and higher sales.
This is especially surprising when you consider that AC/DC is a term that means, in some places, bisexuality. Although, the founding members claim they were unaware of this allusion, maintaining that they found it on the back of a sewing machine.
But controversial name aside, this band, which used to put out albums you hid from your folks, now seems to have acquiesced to the Walmart "thought police" who banned a Sheryl Crow album and forced John Mellencamp to change his album cover before selling it.
The AC/DC frontman doesn't seem fazed. He's happy the chain store not only carries all his band's albums but also their shirts and "pajamas for kids." My feeling is that any store that sells AC/DC pajamas in toddler sizes isn't really much of a censor - it's simply sensitive to what its consumer base likes to buy.
And retailers can't be censors, even if they want to be. When certain stores refuse to stock books, clothing or CDs, they are making economic decisions, not artistic ones. Who in their right mind goes to Walmart looking for edginess?
The more interesting question is how a band like AC/DC gets to be considered mainstream in Walmart at all?
Probably because the Walmart upper management can vividly recall rocking out to "You Shook Me All Night Long" when they were younger and most likely getting punished for it.
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