15 Years Later: Was Deftones’ White Pony Album Predicting the Future of Marketing?

I have been a Deftones’ fan for as long as I can remember formulating my own taste in music. I had the shirts, the patches on my book bags, and the same style of trucker hats their frontman, Chino Moreno, has been known to wear from time to time. I had so many hoodies with their logo blazoned across them and rocked Deftones in my Discman morning, noon and night! I ate, slept, breathed, bleed and would have absolutely would died for Deftones in my younger years!

Their music certainly was a stray away from country greats like Reba McIntyre and George Strait I grew up listening to in my dad’s pickup truck. In fact, the Nu Metal scene (the genre of music Deftones is known for) was sort of forbidden in my home. The lyrics always struck me by not being easy feelings to convey. Certainly sadness and joy are easy ones to dwell upon like many simple country songs do, but emotions of greed, jealous, hatred and lust are a little more hard to express. Those ones every teenager has boil inside of them from time to time. Emotion is where people make decisions, build relationships, form opinions, form their being, and make their stance on a certain side of the fence.

Note: Some of the videos below may contain content not suitable for work and may be considered a little violent and disturbing. Please proceed with some caution and I hope you enjoy 🙂

15 Years of White Pony

Deftones_-_White_Pony-greycoverartJune 19th, 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of their game-changing album White Pony. After my friend had turned me on to it, it became and has held to be my favorite album on their anthology, and even of any band of all-time.

2000 is the same year Google launched. That is seven years before the first iPhone hit the stores. Windows XP was unheard of and at the time and people were dumping 98 for Windows ME (and hating themselves for it). Remember the year 2000 a little more now?

Recall that was four years before Facebook ever launched and seven years before the first tweet hit the Internet.

While many of their lyrics have been blunt, in your face, they almost allow you to make your own interpretation. I have been listening to the album quite a bit in tribute in honor of it’s upcoming anniversary and have been hearing little things here and there. Secret messages almost hidden in the undertones of the lyrics, as if encrypted in a coded message. I believe it was the future of the internet and how it was soon to change the world of communications. I believe Chino’s lyrics may have been telling us the future of our current digital marketing environment.


Track 4 at 0:42 – 0:53

Prediction that women would become a major marketing demographic.

“She pops the trunk, and she removes me
And a machine that takes pictures of us.”

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Before White Pony however, who know pictures and video would explode into such a powerful medium? I guess caveman drawings coming before written words was a strong indicator, but when first launched, the Internet was a means of transmitting written communication.

It is clear in 2015 that visuals are not a marketing fad, but a marketing must. Memes, infographics, Pins, video and Vines are huge! The statistics are in too: visuals are vastly attracting female audiences more so than men.

Now, the term feiticiera literally means “sorceress” or “witch” in Portuguese. As you hear the song the female figure he sings of is portrayed as a very powerful, menacing, and controlling figure. I believe this paints a satirical depiction of the overpowering female consumer market we see today. Women are not a market to pass by.

Brands like Louis Vuitton, MAC Cosmetics and even now Victoria’s Secret, who in fact started as a place outside department stores where men could feel comfortable buying lingerie, market almost primarily to women. social-world-2In the graph to the left, you can see five times as many women use Pinterest than men, and Instagram’s audience is 60% female.

Also the staggering statistics of selfies and gender differences paints a pretty clear pretty clear – women can be even more of a visually enticed creature than men. Make sure you are swooning the female market place and adding more graphics and less words.

Catch their eye so that you can take advantage of all the images to be pinned or maybe try an Instagram contest – it is just easier to snap, share and enjoy in a visual.


Track 4 during the intro, verse, breakdown and outro

A prediction of growth hacking and the growing start-up boom.

“When you’re ripe
you’ll bleed out of control
you’ll bleed out of control”

New businesses lose money at an alarming rate once they open their doors on Day 1. It is a red colored accounting ledger for the first year for most businesses. Entering the marketing world with full force is the idea of growth hacking.

Growth hacking, loosely defined, is the use of marketing tactics and market research along with technologies and technical strategies to provide marketing and sales solutions. Without growth hackers becoming prevalent, especially in Silicon Valley, start-ups like Dropbox, Airbnb and Uber would not have had the user base to grow into the businesses are today. They would be failed start-ups long gone from the app market and forgotten.

The song itself starts real powerful, like growth hacking, and continues throughout with only two small breathers at 1:46-1:48 and again at about 2:41-2:46, other than that, it’s go, go, go! Furthermore lyrics in the chorus, which are very distorted and compressed, making them hard to pick out, also point to a Nostradamus-like telling of how successful start-ups can be using social media and the power of the internet (what was once called “cyberspace”) as promotional tools and real-time medium to reach their best most ready-to-buy customers:

“..you’re pregnant
with all this space
thick with honey
but I lost my taste”

Knife Party

Track 8 from 0:33-0:59 and then again for two choruses at 1:24-1:49 and 2:25-2:50 and the outro

Prediction of the mobile marketing boom taking over and putting the power of consumerism back in the palm of our hands, literally.

“My knife – it’s sharp and chrome
Come see inside my bones
All of the fiends are on the block
I’m the new king, I’ll take the queen
‘Cause in here we’re all anemic
In here – anemic and sweet so…”

In the 1980’s, American corporations mostly used mass media for the most part to reach their audience. Large printed publications, radio and television commercials, and outdoor advertising such as billboards, bus stop benches and eventually buses themselves, and even flying banners attached to single-engine planes and smoke written in the sky were used to reach audiences in exciting and personal ways.

Now, all you have to do is be a company with a social network and a clever marketing campaign and you can get more personal with consumers than any business ever thought, or hoped for for that matter. The “fiends on the block” sort of point to the masses of businesses jumping onboard to grab a slice of the social pie.

On the flipside, consumers can now have full open eyes on companies and their is almost no where for them to hid, so it has double-meaning.

motarola-razrNow, enter in:  the Motorala Razr.

Yeah, remember that thing!?

I think everyone owned one, and right about the time Blackberry was losing it’s immense market share. Of course, the Razr is merely for example, but I think the sharp, chrome knife Chino sings of and repeatedly asks us to go get is the idea of smartphone as it is today:

“…Go get your knife, go get your knife
And come in
Go get your knife, go get your knife
And lay down
Go get your knife, go get your knife
Now kiss me..”

Come in, lay down, tune in, and dive inside the world of any business! Our “chrome knives” have the power to help us control the market, have a voice and shape the way businesses do business. Indirectly, we as consumers now create the businesses we want to work with and not the other way around.

Happy Anniversary White Pony!!

Of course, Chino likely has a deeper personal relationship with his lyrics and much more powerful meanings behind them. Do not take this post as a fact, but more of an interpretation of a fan who has likely heard the album front to back a few too many times!

If you want to hear more you can check out my Essential Deftones’ Spotify Playlist, or check them out on Facebook and Instagram to hear about the upcoming tour dates, grab up some tickets yourself and see if you can find your own interpretation hidden in Chino’s lyrics.

Few Fun Facts:

Hum_-_You'd_Prefer_an_Astronaut#1: The White Pony album cover was inspired by the You’d Prefer An Astronaut album cover by Hum, who was an influencial band at the time of the writing and recording on Deftones’ 3rd  album.

#2: When referring to the band, it is incorrect to say “the Deftones”. It is simply “Deftones”. This is very opposite of many bands before them reflecting a similar naming conventions, such as The Flecktones, The Quin-tones, The Monotones, The Harptones, The Cleftones and The Del-tones. Guitarist Stephen Carpenter was also looking to pay tribute to the Def Jams that were popular at the time.



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