"On the Floor"
Jennifer Lopez didn't get to where she is without developing a savvy understanding of marketing. The singer/dancer/actress/TV personality/product pitchwoman is one of entertainment's most ubiquitous figures because she knows how to leverage brand JLo. The latest and perhaps best example: "On the Floor."
Lopez was a pop music dynamo in the late 1990s and early 2000s. She scored nine Top 10 singles on Billboard's Hot 100 between 1999 and 2003, including four No. 1s. But as her attention turned increasingly toward acting (Shall We Dance, Monster-in-Law, An Unfinished Life, etc.), relationships (including a marriage to Marc Anthony in 2004) and entrepreneurship (she's launched two clothing lines, several perfumes and owns a restaurant), her success on the charts has waned. Read: She hasn't had a Top 10 hit for the last eight years.
Until now, that is. With "On the Floor," JLo (sans punctuation) breached the chart's upper echelon once again.
Could it be coincidence that Lopez's resurgence coincides with her new status as an American Idol judge, appearing twice a week on the most popular television program in the country? After all, Lopez debuted the song's video on the show March 8. By March 9, "On the Floor" was No. 1 on iTunes' list of top downloads. There's nothing quite like pushing your song to 25 million people or so to goose sales.
What's she selling? Catchy rhythms. Sexy dance moves. Oh, and a few brand-name products on the side.
From the very beginning of the song, JLo tells us what to expect. Taking a page out of The Black Eyed Peas playbook, she sings, "It's a new generation … of party people" as she asks us to think of the dance floor as a be-all and end-all—both the totality and fitting culmination of one's life.
"Dance the night away," she commands. "Live your life, and stay young on the floor/Dance the night away/Grab somebody, drink a little more." Later, she adds, "If you're a criminal, kill it on the floor/Steal it quick on the floor/ … It's getting ill, it's getting sick on the floor/We never quit, we never rest on the floor/It ain't wrong, we'll probably die on the floor."
This nonstop party imagery reminds me faintly of those infamous opium dens in 19th-century China and Europe, where folks wasted away smoking the stuff … or scenes in Inception where people spend hour upon hour in an artificial dream state. Guest rapper Pitbull even references that film, saying, "I'm like Inception, I play with your brain/So I don't sleep, I snooze"—perhaps yet another reference to the 24/7 party vibe.
We hear JLo "flavor" one line with the s-word. And Pitbull raps, "All I need is some vodka and some coke," a likely double entendre that can be taken as a reference to either the beverage or the drug. He leers at someone's "badonka donk" and tells us he wants to watch someone get "Donkey Konged."
JLo spends much of her time in the video clubbing and gyrating seductively in either a clingy silvery number or a bra-topped outfit. Backup dancers wear bikinis and the like.
Throughout it all, product placements run almost as rampant as the clubbers. Lopez pulls up in a BMW (the camera zooms in on the badge) and puts on a Swarovski crystal earring. (We know the brand because the camera lingers on the box.) Someone pours some Crown Royal liquor.
See what I mean about JLo's grasp of our product-driven, market-heavy world? Sexy-sultry and party-hearty sells. And Ms. Lopez knows that as well or better than anybody in the biz.