Has Everyone Forgotten The Time Diplo Sold Out?

Let's not forget that whack Blackberry campaign.

Before launching into a debate over whether Diplo is currently a massive hypocrite, a few truths must be established

The first is that M&M’s shelled out a five (+) figure for a music producer to make them a jingle. There’s no dispute there; Zedd has never been a confectionary activist. This is not a passion project, it is one that’s been heavily funded and in turn will be widely circulated. 

The finished product is a circus of loose connections. Aloe Blacc, the voice of EDM-pop cross over, is on vocals. He’s no stranger to sponsored affiliations; his music has been tied to FIFA, WWE and a running film called ‘Race’.

Its purpose is pure branding exercise, a chance for M&M’s to throw money at something they hope will make them appear culturally ‘in touch’. Its motives are blatant, and Diplo, who since winning a Grammy and performing in Cuba has assumed the position of elder statesman, has qualms with it.


Meanwhile, the internet explodes in a cacophony of scoffs. Deadmau5 leads the charge, unable to stay away from a beef so juicy. He motions to a Justin Bieber sized hole in Diplo’s argument.

Picking on the Bieber collab as an act of selling out is an obvious weapon of choice. By the looks of Twitter, it looked like mow cinco was merely vocalising the opinion of many, but lest we forget that "Where Are U Now" is a certifiable banger that's taken Bieber from teen rat to glorious male pop star. 

The collab won both Bieber and Dip credibility - Deadmau5 is probably sore he didn’t think of it first. What he could have feasibly used as ammunition is this:


Diplo's lesser referenced Blackberry commercial. A brand endorsement that had Diplo hiding his iPhone for at least a year, Blackberry position Diplo as an avant-garde globe trotter, a spin on an average guy who “can’t believe people are actually paying me to travel across the world.” He’s a bloke in a suit who needs efficient communication to touch base with his ‘world crew’ - just like any other business class travelling compadre.

Blackberry’s marketing team must have heard of this tie wearing DJ and orchestrated a connection between him and their briefcase loving audience. The advert is about as colourful as a hospital dinner, stripping the life of a colourful DJ down to nothing better than a white guy in a grey suit who needs a Blackberry to send emails efficiently.

In an age where brand partnerships are as crucial as they are unavoidable, the Blackberry ad came out when Diplo was establishing himself as a producer to pop stars. A collaboration with a phone company as globally respected as BB meant that he was recognised as someone worth listening to - someone whose influence perforated outside of the underground.

Its surprising that Diplo has been the one to call out Zedd for allowing a large company to showcase his ability for a new audience. At least M&M's have paid him to actually create music - in 2011 he was the one allowing Blackberry to call the shots on how he was presented.

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Written by Tamara Roper

22 Mar 2016