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GEICO poses as indie; Shark Week takes bait

July 15, 2013
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382568_10200112730445371_312642107_nGEICO is apparently under the impression that being “indie” is “so easy a caveman could do it.” The uber-annoying insurance giant is sponsoring “GEICO Presents Indie across America,” which features “today’s hottest emerging bands.”

Washington D.C. band Shark Week took the bait and will be playing under GEICO’s reptilian banner at 8×10 on Thursday, July 18.

The thing is, these concerts are just another salvo in GEICO’s aggressive advertising campaigns. And if there is such thing as “selling out” anymore, teaming up with GEICO is it, and it should kill all of Shark Week’s credibility.

I don’t know about how things work in Washington, but here in Baltimore (where, for the sake of full disclosure, I should mention I have a band that also has “Shark” in the name), “indie” means supporting and being supported by the community–not insurance companies. But, hey, Shark Week’s press materials talk more about their singer hanging from the ceiling than their music. The whole thing might make sense if it turns out that their singer is really the company’s gecko spokeslizard.

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  • Drew

    Good point. Maybe they could team up with the Humpday camel.

  • Amber

    I don’t know dude. I’m tasting a little bit of classic Haterade here. Indie traditionally means “unsigned”, take that as you will. I know the terminology has changed since the state of the music industry’s changed. Can you honestly tell me that you’re so above the omg corporate reins of geico that you wouldn’t do a show like this if asked with your band – which also has ‘shark’ in the name. Huh? Let’s make sure to let everyone know that for – wait a minute why??

    Why take this approach when there’s an opportunity here for us to all get each other’s music out there, get to know one another and make Baltimore a better place to play music. I seriously doubt you’ve ever been to one of this band’s shows or know much about their music aside from your pissypants internet rant.

  • Ryan Kelly

    What a joke, Baynard–if that is your real name–”indie” is about making music yourself, taking a shot at success without the backing of a record company…not about distancing yourself from anything that resembles capitalism and denying an opportunity to make money by playing your own music. Last I checked, Shark Week’s set didn’t include any Geico jingles or pitches. None of the band members are going to be wearing Geico Gekko costumes. All the band members still have second jobs and do all this in their spare time. Their publicist is also their drummer and he manages to also make a living doing reporting and writing that doesn’t revolve around tearing his fellow bands down or seemingly promoting Pimms (replete with a full-screen shot of the bottle…you sellout, you!).

    There’s a long history of these jealous “sell-out” charges. Grandaddy once accused Pavement of selling out and going all New York. Then Jason Lytle, the brains behind the operation, discovered he’d be able to sell one of his songs to Honda and be able to afford to make that move from Modesto to Montana. I guess you could call them all sell-outs. I guess you would. Seems to be the kind of thing you get off on. Most of that band still gets by working in shoe stores or as hired musicians.

    Your own Shark band has videos posted to Facebook and YouTube. So you don’t think anything’s amiss with large multinationals providing you a platform for people to see you do that thing that you love? No, not the jealous sniping…that other thing.

    Let’s face it…if you’re going to get anywhere close to success, corporate sponsors will be there to stand nearby and smile. The Geico Presents series is no different from Virgin Mobile’s Free Fest. I bet your sharks would jump at the chance to play SXSW, “where anytime is Miller time.”

    Let’s not tear down bands (and comedians while we’re at it) that are fortunate enough to get paid. Let’s celebrate the notion that corporations are willing to support independent (read: not Warner, not top-40) music.

  • Matt

    This article is a joke. Every band good enough to play for a living lives off opportunities like this. No one buys music anymore, so licensing and teaming with corporate sponsors is a nessecity. Kurt Vile, The Black Lips, it’s an incredibly common practice. If you’re only realizing this now, you’re not paying attention. And why pick on a small band just trying to get some gas money for their next tour, where they will probably lose money anyway? You’re just being a bully

  • krrp

    third party here. got to say, this article comes across pretty aggressive and petty… you could have easily made your point without being so invidious about it.

  • Hannah Bampton

    Just to be clear, you are an adult? If so, you are calling another group of adults posers for accepting monetary compensation for providing entertainment.

  • Alberto José Pacheco

    City Paper is getting to be some seriously weak sauce. Attitude is infectious, y’all. Stay away from this kind of bullshit…talk about “personal” agendas. it’s really just laughable :)

    “So, here in the Strum und Twang department of nostalgia, we did start wondering why none of the young bands are yet bringing back the great alt-country” & “maybe we don’t need young kids to bring that shit back when there are old-timers (I don’t mean it as an insult, but more like dudes of my own generation) who are still playing like that. ”

    taken from
    JUNE STAR RECORD RELEASE SHOW AT WINDUP JULY 5, 2013
    BY BAYNARD WOODS
    http://blogs.citypaper.com/noise/index.php/2013/07/june-star-record-release-show-at-windup/

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