[MUSIC AD WATCH] Swedish DJ, remixer, and record producer Avicii ranked at #3 on DJ Magazine's annual Top 100 DJs poll in both 2012 and 2013; and he's been nominated twice for a Grammy Award. He's also sold out The Hollywood Bowl and won and American Music Award. So when Avicii announces his support of a product, fans likely take notice.
Just before the end of the year, Avicii took to his Facebook with an endorsement of NJoy electronic cigarettes, a company known for walking right the edge of what is legal when making health claims about its cigarette "replacement" products. Njoy also licensed Avicii's hit "Hey, Big Brother" for a video spot with the theme "Return the Favor: Friends Don't Let Friends Smoke". The official pitch:
"It is the first to tell the category truth, that there is a real alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes.That we all have friends and loved ones who smoke and who wish they didn't... And neither do we. We should encourage our friends and loved ones as their New Year's resolutions take shape to make the switch."
In the 1970's and 80's many musicians viewed product endorsement and sponsorships as selling out the man. The practice became more acceptable as income from record sales fell and by the mid-2000's most artists found getting involved in the ad game a desired part of their over all marketing and income strategy.
But cigarette endorsement was the line most musicians would not cross. To be sure e-cigarettes are not the same as lighting up a Marlboro. But Avicii has crossed a line, and others may follow.