A couple of decades ago, Enigma Records’ A & R chief William Hein coined the famous dictum “We work in a tremendous vacuum of taste out there.” What this quote fails to recognize is that the customer is always right, even when the customer is dead wrong. Whatever we can say about our online marketing customers opting for the lowest common denominators or making purchasing decisions that would befuddle a saint, the bottom line is that the bottom line is benefited by their choices whether we agree with them or not. Otherwise, we’re all resorting to the patented snobbery of: “What I like is good taste, what I don’t like is bad taste.” Like many puzzling customer decisions these infamous Grammy snubs may seem inexplicable but the approximately 20,000 NARAS members voted this way, so we can either accept it or just sit in the corner in utter dejection.
- 1964: Best Original Score For A Motion Picture – The nominees included Goldfinger, The Pink Panther, and one of the greatest tunes of the rock era, The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night. They were all beaten by Mary Poppins. Supercalifragilisticexpialioutrageous!
- 1966: Best Rock & Roll Recording – Coming up against The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” and even The Mamas & The Papas’ “Monday Monday,” the Grammy went to The New Vaudeville Band’s “Winchester Cathedral.” They didn’t even use a megaphone for that “you’re bringing me doooooooown” but the lead sang through his hand!
- 1978: Best New Artist – Elvis Costello had literally lit up the charts with the most enduring music to emerge from the Punk & New Wave movement but he lost to A Taste Of Honey’s immortal “Boogie Oogie Oogie.” Commemorating this inexplicable award, Costello later issued a sampler CD entitled A Taste Of Extreme Honey.
- 1980: Album of the Year – The Grammy voters in their infinite wisdom chose to snub minor little acts such as Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel and even the deities of the music universe Pink Floyd to hand the golden award to Christopher Cross. “Saaaaaailing … takes me awaaaaaay.” Someone should have taken Cross away.
- 1988: Best Metal Performance – The entire music world expected this Grammy to land squarely in the lap of Metallica, and of course it was won by Jethro Tull who embodies the very essence of heavy metal in playing … the flute. You really couldn’t make this stuff up.
- 1989: Record Of The Year – What was possibly the most magnificently produced tracks of the entire decade, Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror,” was beat-en by Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” an a capella track where the singer is accompanied only by the sound of his hands smacking various parts of his anatomy.
And how could we possibly forget…
- 1990: Best New Artist – The award goes to Milli Vanilli! They were hot, they were cute, they danced great, they had looooong dreads, but the tiny little problem with their record was that they didn’t sing a note on it! But dang, did they ever look great lip sync’ing!
So before you despair over the depressing fact that the 2001 Best Dance Recording wasn’t J Lo’s “Let’s Get Loud,” Eiffel 65’s “Blue,” or even Moby’s “Natural Blues,” but was won by Baha Men’s “Who Let The Dogs Out,” (“woof woof woof woof”) keep in mind that even the greatest music critics have to acknowledge that the public votes with its money and that is what business is based on, not the elite ruminations of the tasterati. It’s very difficult to pay your bills with positive review clippings.
Does that mean that we should toss out what we believe to be underperforming product online marketing campaigns and in our quest to rack up as many sales as possible fully embrace the immensely popular whoopee cushions, plastic dog poop, and Sarah Palin Toilet Paper? As online marketers we have a responsibility to maintain the reputation of our brands regardless of what we may believe would be a short term answer to our drooping sales levels. Our customers will maintain trust in our brands if we are consistent, responsive, quality-oriented and reliable!