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Thursday
Mar032011

What's going on. Look at what they did to Marvin Gaye.

by Jeanne Chinard

Look, I would like to see colon cancer wiped out as much as anyone, and I appreciate the value and importance of a boomer icon like Peter Yarrow using his talents to prevent it. BUT… did he have to write a folk song about having a colonoscopy? I may never remember him for anything else.

Really, does every product or service have to be sold by corrupting the sweet memories of every song we grew up with? Does any twenty-something marketer ever pause to think that maybe members of our generation are not all as easy as politicians in a brothel? Or that we may take offense at seeing our cherished music shill for pedestrian products? Slap a 60’s song on a brand and see how high we jump? That we’ll all come running to your product with our tongues hanging out like a bunch of puppies?

Well, not only won’t these boomer anthems make us want to buy something, but they can turn us off these product completely. After Swiffer sullied the edgy legacy of ”One Way Or Another” by Blondie, or the eighties synthpop angst of "Don't You Want Me" by Human League, I now think twice before I buy any of their products. Even worse is “Instant Karma” by John Lennon for Chase or “Tuesday Afternoon” by the Moody Blues for Visa Check Cards. And I almost cried when I heard “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye on a Budweiser beer commercial. Remember, you are talking about beer, banks and bankcards – and you're trying to sell them by appropriating the creative legacy of a cultural, spiritual, and human rights revolution? Shame on you.

Using “Instant Karma” for Chase, or Dylan’s “Forever Young” for Pepsi or the Sixties anthem “All You Need is Love” for ”Procter & Gamble’s Luvs diapers, is a little like using “There Will Always Be an England” from WW II for British cookies, or “When The Lights Go On Again in England” for light bulbs.

There was a reason that the creative directors of my generation created original songs to brand a product. Jingles were written to reflect the products they represented - they weren’t just slapped on as gratuitous borrowed interest. And although they may not all have been good or artful, they never ran the risk of treading on the emotional touchstones of a generation.

So please, don’t use the music I grew up with to pander to me or try to

manipulate me. I don’t live in the past. If you cheapen the music I love,

you cheapen the products you want me to buy.

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