Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Everything Must Go

It would be foolish to pretend that the music industry was ever anything other than precisely that: an industry.

Even in the days when rock n roll was the voice of the emerging youth, the sound of rebellion: there was someone, somewhere who was making a lot of money from it.

Even in the early days there were products especially designed as merchandise to help make even more money: just look at all the Elvis movies if you don’t believe me.

But there’s something rather sad about the latest generation of wannabe pop stars openly endorsing consumer products to help finance that difficult second album.

And it’s not like I can pretend that it’s merely the cannon fodder that are doing it. Yes: there is a high level of consumer advertising being done by former X Factor types. One Direction (sorry, who?) advertising Pokemon, Alexandra Burke with her underarm B.O. problems (or why else would she be advertising them?), JLS advertising whatever the hell it is that JLS advertise – if it were just these nearly-rans that were jumping on the bandwagon then I wouldn’t be quite so worried – but its affecting the big hitters as well.

Johnny Rotten – the epitome of Punk Rock – can now be seen advertising butter, U2 brought out their own i-pod in a sponsorship deal with Apple. Hell, even Bob Dylan has done it

You can barely turn on the telly without seeing some perfume fronted by the Beckams, the Beyonce’s or the Back-Street Boys (alright, not the latter, but you get the picture)

So what’s the next logical step? Politician’s in adverts, perhaps? Surely not, I hear you cry – so checkout the adverts for a money advisory company starring John “Two-Jags” Prescott (admittedly no longer an active Politician)

Of course – the Queen already advertises products and has done for a long time – if you count the fact that any product used in the Royal household can show the royal crest, so presumably it’s only a small step from that to a quick advert for MacDonalds next time she wants Balmorral pebble-dashing?

And now the adverts aren’t even going to wait for the advert breaks – there’s product placement with a “P” advisory that this programme that we are watching may contain sudden bouts of characters suddenly saying ‘Hmmm, Scum-Cola: refreshing”

And let’s not even get started on adverts with voice overs from “celebrity” actors – it seems that these days we can’t be persuaded to buy anything unless That Bloke From Gray’s Anatomy is either voicing or starring in it.

Even worse is the current trend for getting us to actively participate in adverts - call this number and send us your money to decide if Fictional Character A proposes to Fictional Character B, or to follow us on Facebook.  I mean surely there can't be anyone out there so desperate for friends that they're willing to add a roll of toilet paper to their role of associates, no matter how quilted it may be?  What would the updates be like??

There is a current feeling in those of us that still take interest in film and TV that there are no stars of the magnitude of Days Gone By. Sure we may go and see a film starring Rachel From Friends because we liked her in that and know that she’ll be pretty much the same in this, but not in the same way that Humphrey Bogart in a film could guarantee a return. Is this really because actors are not as good, or are they just spreading themselves too thin?

Back In The Day it used to be BBC policy to only use the Daleks sparingly in Dr Who – the idea being that the infrequency of their appearance would add to the impact when they turned up. In these days of multi-media and toy-sales based programming they have been in every season of the re-vamped show so far: and only to their detriment.

Perhaps then, if the stars of today were to go away for a while we might appreciate them a bit more when they returned?

Mind you: I caught something on the radio the other night where a man was saying that he’d had a phone call from someone trying to sell him something

He had asked the girl in the call centre, ‘Why are you doing this dead-end, soul-destroying sales job? Isn’t there something more fulfilling you could be doing with your life?’

To which she replied, ‘I’m not the one answering phone calls at home during the day’

Something to think about there: if nothing else.


The Bug said...

Ooh the Daleks are THE MOST ANNOYING evil bad guys EVER. I hate the way they "talk." Gets on my last nerve.

Whew, glad to have that out of my system!

I don't really mind celebrity advertising - I think it's funny, actually. But then again we don't really pay attention to the advertisements anyway - they're so LOUD these days that we mute them whenever possible.

Peter Goulding said...

I remember when punk came out and this was our music, our scene, it wasn't about selling vinyl, it was about the live shows and we took our old t-shirts and painted slogans on them and ripped them and put safety pins in them and wore our old jeans, ripped at the knees and tried to make our hair spiky with sugar water and we danced our own crazy dances.
Then people started appearing at gigs wearing £50 bondage trousers or God Save the Queen t-shirts and immaculately coiffeured quiffs and everybody started pogoing the same way and the Pistols brought out an album and the Clash brought out a self-absorbent triple album and that was the end of it all for me.

Lydia said...

A lot of these you mentioned aren't run (yet) here. But the phenomenon is creeping in. There is Julianne Hough, of Dancing With the Stars-turned Country Western singer-dating Ryan Seacrest (what in the hell does she see in him?!)doing an ad for Proactive acne treatment. That one drives me crazy and is definitely overkill, as she seems to be everywhere. I wonder, when you mention the guy on Gray's Anatomy, if you are speaking of the British or Scottish actor with the red hair? Probably so, because he has that kind of presence. Shock of shocks, the guy can really sing! Did you happen to see the episode that was done as a musical (singing, not dancing)? It was one of the best hours of television I've seen in ages. Hey, ya know, perhaps as long as people refer to these familiar faces as "that guy" they will be more prone to advertise products on tv. Many of them fear being one-hit wonders, I am sure. All in all, they have little credibility with me as far as product endorsements.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Bug - the problem is that no matter how much you ignore them they seep into your brain until you find yourself knowing the names but not sure why

Peter - punk is a classic example, even the Pistols were put together partially because of image

Lydia - curly haired chap, done a couple of films, McDreamy - or whatever. Not seen that episode, we're a season or so behind on terrestrial TV

Argent said...

And let's not forget those terribly annoying Iggy Pop car insurance ads. Why.....?

I don't mind ads where the celeb in question sends themselves up a bit, but yeah, it's all about the money these days, sadly.

Heh! My verification word? Brandl.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Yeah - i'd forgotten those ones. What was he thinking?

the watercats said...

too right!.. mind you, I never bought the whole johnny rotten image, even when he was meant to be 'real', he is an utter, utter twat! The whole punk thing was as orchestrated as the rest of it, the true hero's of the 'music industry' can be found in ancient pubs on thursday nights, old fellas who are masters of their instruments, who get together to play every obscure folk song ever written, for free, for the love of the playing and nothing more, no ego, no sponsoship deals, no tours.. just a pint, a shared song and laughter..
a funny thing about the iggy pop adds, the actual company he is advertising don't even insure musicians! (oh the irony!)
oh, and it's jeremy brett every time for me, he is the only person ever cast as utter perfection.. if he was still alive, i would quite happily stalk him! :-)

Anonymous said...

"Is this really because actors are not as good, or are they just spreading themselves too thin?"
It's because they're not as good. Probably because they're not even actors, just the best friend or sex partner of someone in charge of the film. And in addition to not being good, they spread their not-being-goodness thin and in turn become shallow husks of their former talentless selves.

I certainly understand and agree with the revolt against celebrities who are just walking ad carriers, but I don't think a little financing from advertisers for something that's really good but needs more money to be exposed to mainstream media would hurt. And I do mean a LITTLE bit of advertising, not the shows or videos themselves being on the payroll of tons of product companies.

Not surprising that U2 ads for Apple. They were always a commercial band anyway. It is surprising to see Bob Dylan there though.