Advertising: Hip-Hop for Food

What is getting one of Switzerland’s biggest companies (Coop) to ask the country’s best known and maybe most controversial Hip-Hop artist (Stress) to write a song for them and do a TV spot?

And this without prescribing the topic or other limitations put up.

… and then the whole thing becomes a great success and is shown multiple times everyday on TV.

Click on the image for the music clip (multimedia)

link to music video

It’s not exactly like 50 Cent would do a clip for K-Mart – (despite he might never consider this) the philosophies of the companies are far too different – but can such a thing only happen in Switzerland?

Are there some companies that not only use our emotions and green or philanthropic ideas to better advertise and sell even more goods that actually have nothing to do with the cause?

In Switzerland at least there seem to be some examples for such companies and they have gained decades of reputation that they not only say so but also act.

Coop, the company that asked Swiss No 1 Hip-Hopper Stress to do the commercial, is since more than 10 years engaged in supporting and providing biologically and sustainable grown food products from Europe – since a time when people trying to get similar projects off the ground in the USA were dismissed as esoteric nutters. It is now – together with the WWF – also supports such projects worldwide.

And their biggest and direct competitor Migros, that is well known for its social engagement in Switzerland and has also demonstrated this for decades, often puts its ideas above its commercial interests. You won’t, for example, find alcohol or cigarettes in their shops because of that and they are sponsoring sport and educational institutions throughout the country.

Juer Peritz, executive director and head of marketing at Coop had asked Stress if he would be interested in a cooperation with the company regarding sustainability and ecological topics. Based on a general briefing Stress created the song and video without any limitations put up by the organization. The results have persuaded the company immediately and the spot is show on Swiss TV multiple time every day.

Swiss Romain Hip-Hopper Stress – his latest album reached No 1 in the Swiss charts – and who’s songs continuously get hundred thousands of views on YouTube, might so far only be well known in Europe. That soon might change…

He filmed the clip for the commercial “On n’a qu’une terre” (we have only one earth) literally inside the Aral Sea.

The Aral Sea, the fourth biggest lake of the world has since the 1960ies – due to pollution and abuse of resources – lost more than 42,000 sq km of its size and shores moved inwards about 100 – 150km. Former ports are now in the middle of a salt desert. The once prosperous fishing industry has almost completely collapsed due to the increase of salinity in the water and the health situation in the area is alarming. The region has the highest infant mortality of the former Soviet Union countries and respiratory diseases are common around the lake. When the water disappeared the salt, toxic pesticides and chemicals from intensive farming remained.

Read more and see images on this at Wikipedia

We have created an English translation of the song in the commercial “On n’a qu’une terre” below:

French (original)

English adaption

German adaption

Quand il sera grand et me demandra

"Pourquoi y a plus de poissons dans la mer?"

Je vais dire quoi? Que je savais pas!

Ou que j’en avais rien à faire!

When he will be grown up and ask me:

Why are there no more fish in the oceans?”

What will I say? That I didn’t know?

Or that I didn’t care?

Wenn er mal gross ist und mich fragt:

"Warum gibt es keine Fische mehr im Meer?"

Was antworte ich dann? Dass ich es nicht wusste?

Oder dass es mir egal war?

Et quand il me demandra

"Papa! Est-ce juste pour le bois que vous avez rasé le poumon de la planète?

J’vais respirer avec quoi?"

And if he would as me:

“Daddy! Was it only for the wood that your (generation) has razed the lungs of the planet?

How shall I now breathe?

Und wenn er mich fragt:

"Papa! Ist es nur wegen dem Holz, dass ihr die Lunge der Erde zerstört habt?

Womit soll ich denn jetzt atmen?"

J’aurais l’air d’un irresponsable, incapable.

D’un coupable au comportement inexcusable.

I will look irresponsible and incapable.

Like one guilty of an inexcusable wrong doing .

Ich würde als unverantwortlich und unfähig dastehen.

Als ein Schuldiger, der sich unentschuldbar verhält.

Une nature bousillée, un monde de CO2.

Est-ce vraiment le futur que l’on voulait construire pour eux?

A f***ed up nature, a world of CO2.

Is that the future we want to create for our children?

Eine kaputte Natur, eine Welt voller CO2:

Ist das wirklich die Zukunft, die wir für sie erschaffen wollen?

Ca passe par le respect et l’une des choses à faire, c’est un commerce équitable pour eux, nous et notre terre.

Les grands discours c’est bien. Mais les petits gestes c’est mieux.

La différence on doit la faire aujourd’hui, car on le peut.

It’s about respect and about things we have to do, to be achieved for them, for us and for our earth.

Great discussions are good and fine, but small steps are better.

We have to create a difference today, because we can.

Es geht um Respekt. Und das, was wir erreichen müssen, ist nachhaltiges Handeln: Für sie, für uns und für unsere Erde.

Diskussionen sind ja gut und recht. Aber Taten sind besser.

Den Unterschied müssen wir heute schaffen, denn wir können es.

Vas-y consomme! Consomme. Consume, consume!

Tronçonne, tronçonne! Allume, allume!

Mais que fais-tu si notre futur s’retrouve entre le marteau et l’enclume.

Si ça brûle et que ça s’consume.

Et qu’notre terre ressemble à la lune.

Que fais-tu si notre futur s’retrouve entre le marteau et l’enclume.

Carry on consume! Consume!
use it up, use it up!

Chop up, chop up! Light up, light up!

But what are you gonna do when our future will come under attack from both sides.

When everything is burned and consumed.

And when our planet looks like the moon.

What are you gonna do when our future will come under attack from both sides.

Mach schon, verbrauche, verbrauche! Vernichte, vernichte!

Holz den Wald ab, holz den Wald ab! Zünd ihn an, zünd ihn an!

Aber was machst du, wenn unsere Zukunft zwischen Hammer und Amboss gerät?

Wenn alles brennt und in Flammen aufgeht?

Und unsere Erde aussieht wie der Mond?

Was machst du, wenn unsere Zukunft zwischen Hammer und Amboss gerät?

(Verse 2:)
Dites-moi pas que vous le voyez pas, qu’vous le sentez pas. Ce changement. Ne me mentez pas.

Le climat part en vrille. Vous attendez quoi?

Combien de Katrinas nous faudra-t-il pour accepter ça?

(Verse 2)
Don’t tell me that you can’t see or feel the change. Don’t lie to me.

The climate is going crazy. What are you waiting for?

How many Katrinas will we need to accept this?

(Strophe 2:)
Sagt nicht, dass ihr sie nicht seht und spürt, diese Veränderung. Lügt mich nicht an!

Das Klima spielt verrückt. Worauf wartet ihr denn?

Wie viele Katrinas braucht es noch, um zu begreifen?

Je veux pas marcher sur le sol d’une mer asséchée en me disant

"J’aurais peut-être dû trier mes déchets".

Pour nous c’est une erreur, pour nos enfants un péché.

Tout le monde crie au drame mais personne n’a l’air pressé.

I don’t want to walk over the floor of a dried up sea and say:

Maybe I should have separated my waste”.

For us this might be a mistake but for our children it will be evil (a sin).

Everybody is outraged about it, but nobody seems to be in a hurry (to do something)

Ich will nicht im ausgetrockneten Meer stehen und sagen:

"Vielleicht hätte ich meine Abfälle trennen sollen."

Für uns ist das ein Fehler, aber für unsere Kinder eine Sünde.

Alle sind empört, doch niemand scheint es eilig zu haben.

Je veux pas voir le jour où l’eau aura la valeur du pétrole.

Où le pétrole ne sera plus.

Mais on payera encore pour ces bémols.

Je ne suis pas devenu "Monsieur Ecolo" c’est clair.

Mais avec ce que je sais aujourd’hui, je peux faire mieux que hier.

I don’t want to see the day when water costs the same as oil.

Or there will be no more oil.

We will get the check for our non-doing.

I will not become “Mister Ecological” that’s clear.

But with what I know today I can do better tomorrow.

Ich will nicht erleben, bis Wasser so viel kostet wie Erdöl.

Oder es überhaupt kein Erdöl mehr gibt.

Wir werden die Rechnung bekommen für unsere Unterlassungen.

Ich bin zwar nicht zum "Mister Öko" geworden, das ist klar!

Aber mit dem, was ich heute weiss, kann ich es morgen besser machen.

More information:
Stress web site
Coop info on the clip (in German)
Trailer of Stress’ new movie (Buena Vista International – shown in cinemas from January 2008)
Mais Ou? (one of his best known clips)

Personal note:
Despite some recent negative press world wide and some persistant clichees, the Swiss are some of the world’s most open and free minded people. Admired and sometimes envied by democrats around the world, in this country there are still civil and citizen rights existing that some administrations today are trying to have their “voters” forget about.

When Rousseau was asked – during the time of the French Revolution – if Switzerland would also need a revolution to empower its citizens he said: “…no, they already got a functioning democracy…”
And the place (close to Fribourg) he used as an example is not very far away where Stress today lives.
Tu felix switzerland…

P.S. The (face of the) Swiss top politician and billionaire getting spanked in “Mais Ou?” at 1:15+ together with his party got Switzerland all the negative press the last weeks…

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