1.16.2009

That Cloud Cult ad

We here at LiB -- or at least, Brad and I -- have been big fans of the Cloud Cult for quite a while now. I remember being so blown away the first time I saw them play, in Chicago, that I and the friend I'd gone with walked out on the headliner (Of Montreal, whom I consistently find insufferable anyhow).

Well, I just saw their Esurance music-video-slash-commercial. I wasn't really quite sure what to think at first -- I don't like being that guy who calls a band a sellout because they put some music in a commercial; given that they have their own studio and have been pleasantly doing whatever they want for quite a while now makes their decision harder to criticize. But it is odd, and a bit upsetting, to see a band that I've seen in fairly intimate shows suddenly thrust upon the TV-commercial stage.

I also like what they have to say about the spot:
"We've been approached by a number of different companies over the years to use our music for various types of commercials," the band's lead singer-songwriter, Craig Minowa, told Songs for Soap. "Because of the extreme environmental ethics of Cloud Cult, we've had to turn down a lot of offers that could have been quite lucrative. It's hard to say 'no' to, but we've gotten used to it. I didn't know Esurance very well when they first offered the idea, but I researched the company, and for the first time, I actually felt comfortable doing something like this."

I also like the fact that the spot isn't really pushing anything -- there is no pitch, no product for obvious sale. It works well for both sides -- Cloud Cult is a lot less tied to a product, and Esurance gets a big green boost by their association with such a prominantly green band:
Minowa has been pushing green music initiatives since those faraway days when Al Gore was just a boring vice president. His record label Earthology Records, run from his organic farm, specializes in renewable materials and, well, releasing Cloud Cult albums. According to the band, all of its merchandise is made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials, and it's purchased energy offsets for tours through NativeEnergy.com. So when the septet played the Monolith Festival at Red Rocks last year and learned the Esurance had helped to green the gathering, it was only a matter of time before they became "eco-buddies."

Esurance became the green sponsor for Cloud Cult's current 27-stop tour -- to support the April LP "Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes)" -- and the company has picked up the tab for carbon offsets, printed green tour posters and subsidized the bio-diesel the band uses in its tour bus. Cloud Cult has been "great to work with," says Kristin Brewe, director of brand and public relations at the direct-to-consumer insurance company. "They're some of the nicest people you'll ever meet, great in live performance, and also, doing good while sharing their music with people."


So I say, rock on, Cloud Cult.