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

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.