Given how much TV adverts get on my tits, I’m not sure how it turns out that it’s been over three months since I wrote one of these.
There’s much to despise about adverts in my book, and doubtless I’ll probably cover some of the other things I hate over the coming months because, let’s be honest, with the World Cup starting today, I’m going to be watching a much larger proportion of the commercial channels than usual for the next few weeks, so they’re bound to wind me up enough to feel the need to vent my spleen here.
But for now, I’ll return to my usual gripe: the use of records I love to sell stuff, especially when the stuff being sold has absolutely sod all to do with the song, which inevitably has every last drop of credibility squeezed from it as a result.
I don’t really subscribe to the Bill Hicks “You do a commercial, you’re off the artistic roll call forever” train of thought:
To my mind, a spot on the shelf-life of celebrity is a precarious, self-employed one: they never know quite how long they’re going to be there, or how demeaning their fall from grace is going to be, so I have no issue with those lucky enough to be in the position where they’re offered money to endorse a product, or do a voice-over, adding some notes to their pension fund and taking the corporate coinage. It doesn’t mean I’m going to rush out and buy whatever they’re selling – in fact, it’s more likely to make me more determined not to – but I have no problem with them doing it.
That said, when a record is crowbarred into an advert where it has no business in being, just to add a veneer of credibility, that’s when I get annoyed.
Chanel. If you’re not the biggest fragrance and fashion house in the world, then you’re certainly in the top three. Your status, reputation and class has been built up for over one hundred years. Getting Steve McQueen (not that one) to direct your latest advert for men’s fragrance is fitting: he’s a class act, and so are you.
So why the need to use this as the soundtrack to the advert?
I could maybe understand it if it had some relevance to the product in question. It’s a men’s fragrance, so there’s a man in the advert – tick! – but as for the ‘star’ part…well in a 60 second advert, there is one shot, lasting no more than one second, which features a starry sky, and that’s about five seconds before it ends.
You get the impression that the Chanel Marketing Department commissioned McQueen to shoot the ad, and then when he presented it to him, they told him what they wanted the music to be, so he had to crowbar a star reference in to give its use some weight.
What I’m trying to say is this: Bowie is dead. There’s no need to tarnish his memory by using his songs to sell stuff. You’re better than that, Chanel.
And there’s no need for anyone to suggest the advert which features a certain New Order tune for a future post – that’s very high on the list indeed.