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Marketing Fail: Roger Waters’s People Deface Elliott Smith Memorial

by Max Willens on May 5, 2010 · 11 comments

We like to make fun of various musicians’ misguided efforts to market themselves, but sometimes their mistakes aren’t funny.

Yesterday, L.A. Weekly’s music blog, West Coast Sound, pointed out that Roger Waters’s street team defaced a community-made Elliott Smith memorial in Los Angeles as part of a stupid attempt at guerrilla marketing for the next Pink Floyd tour.

Waters has since apologized and called the whole thing an “accident,” but honestly, what are Roger Waters’s people doing trying to market a Pink Floyd show in Silver Lake?

For those unfamiliar, Silver Lake, the neighborhood where Smith’s memorial is located, is inhabited almost entirely by broke hipsters who wouldn’t spend $200 on a ticket to watch The Wall, even if they had $200.

Waters claims his street team in L.A. wasn’t aware that the mural was there, or that it held a special local significance. But if you’re trying to develop a viral buzz for an event, and you’re going to go to the trouble of zeroing in on specific neighborhoods, you should know what’s in those neighborhoods, shouldn’t you? Isn’t that the point of niche marketing?

In other words, Waters is probably going to have to find a new promotions team, and the handful of his fans that still read the L.A. Weekly are going to have to come to terms with the fact that their aged idol is tone-deaf enough to hire marketers who have no idea what the kids are into these days.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Hendershot May 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Or…

Elliot Smith fans will throw a hissy-fit and bring tons of attention to the fact that Roger Waters is taking a massive stage production of The Wall on tour.

Viral marketing attempt… successful.

MaxWillens May 5, 2010 at 4:02 pm

I dunno, I think there's a very big difference between a smaller brand/entity causing uproar amongst the establishment and a big, moneyed artist ignorantly defacing a cult artist's memorial…

youfail May 6, 2010 at 3:14 am

“For those unfamiliar, Silver Lake, the neighborhood where Smith’s memorial is located, is inhabited almost entirely by broke hipsters who wouldn’t spend $200 on a ticket to watch The Wall, even if they had $200.”

Really?

Sounds like the author's a little unfamiliar with L.A. geography.

The broke hipsters haven't been able to afford Silver Lake for years, except maybe to visit for some vegan food at Flore or some gelato across the street. The slumming trustafarian hipsters and their baby-boomer parents, on the other hand, certainly do a good job of keeping the real estate prices up.

See, e.g. http://www.trulia.com/CA/Los_Angeles,7209,Silve…

PC May 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I think Max is kind of an idiot. Why would you condemn Roger Waters for something one of his street team members did? Sounds like somebody has a grudge

MaxWillens May 6, 2010 at 12:45 pm

The people at the top of an operation deserve as much blame as the people at the bottom, no?

marvinmarks May 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm

No offense to Elliott Smith – but I think most “kids” like Pink Floyd a lot more than him…

Roger Waters May 20, 2010 at 5:44 pm

I saw Roger Waters in concert a few years back, and is voice is still amazing many years later! But his tickets go sky high priced. Even that, I’ve never miss his concerts & I can’t wait to see him again this summer.
http://www.ticketsinventory.com/concert/roger-w…

Noway December 2, 2010 at 5:41 pm

That makes it okay to deface a dead man's public memorial for a one-time concert?

You're obviously a complete moron.

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