'Gnomeo and Juliet': Audio Branding Review
Although it is a children's version of the classic with references to 'Moulin Rouge' and 'American Beauty', the original music (James Newton Howard) is very well executed. Orchestration (various artists) is done with impeccable craftsmanship and colourful timbre textures that smacks of Debussy ('La Mer') and creative genius, John Williams ('Hook', 1991).
A version of audio branding is categorized as Pop Sponsoring, i.e. the intentional usage of popular music to affirm or co-create another brand. Elton John is used excessively, in my opinion, with a style of music here that edges on soppy more so than tasteful and classy. The movie is frequently interspersed with sudden songs of which the first is Elton John's 'Hello' which, again in my opinion sounds inappropriate for this primary target audience. The song is sung by a flat, one dimensional chipmunk female voice together with Elton John with excessive repetition of the word 'Hello Hello' that is quickly reminiscent of a witches' sabbath. Somehow the Elton John alliance with the 'Gnomeo and Juliet' brand seems a bit strange, until I saw that his partner, David Furnish, is one of the movie's producers... Elton John has had his season of glory yet I somehow still don't make the aesthetic connection between his brand and a kids' movie brand anymore.
Often Pop Sponsoring can be very effective in aligning one unsung/new brand to another (sung/sonic) brand. Throughout the original score various other Elton John songs are referenced as well.
The parents will enjoy the references yet the kids probably won't make out pointy heads or trainers why the songs are a bit unfamiliar, and in my opinion not the best example of audio branding and pop sponsoring.