View From The Side: A Week Of Cringe
This year has excelled in one magical thing: shit marketing. Whether it’s been the ad for luxury London flats that took the bold step of using American Psycho as a style guide, or Katie Hopkins suggesting (-please, God, promising) that she’d get the fuck out of England if Labour won the election, the distance between what people want to convey, and what they’re actually conveying is spreading wider than a steamrolled Eric Pickles.
But the last couple of weeks have seen the baffling world of selling stuff really fly into bullshit overdrive. Social media has been alive with 3 separate examples of utter lunacy, all with a sweet, sweet musical spin, and all suggesting to me that the people in charge of making decisions in the world have done gone lost their minds.
First up – and I guess in this instance I use ‘people in charge of making decisions’ advisedly, this little beauty from the LibDems has surfaced:
Gahhh! Make it stop! Christ! In the space of a minute I feel like Nick Clegg has sucked away half the world’s entire quota of cool with the gravitational pull of his own lameness. Watching his never-knowingly-rhythmic movements being chopped into sync with a Bruno Mars song is like watching a monkey dance the Macarena to avoid getting burnt by fags; both horribly fascinating, and morally wrong. As far as I can tell, some bright spark media graduate at LibDem HQ has seen the Cassetteboy cut ups doing the rounds, and thought, yeah, this would be great, in fact it could be GREAT, but first we need to fuck off all the jokes, cobble it together a bit more cack-handedly, and – this bits the winner guys – smash together the previously alien concepts of Nick Clegg and ‘funk’. Oh, and don’t forget to sling in a bit where he looks like he’s servicing an elephant’s cock. Jobs a good un! Smiley face thumbs up.
Who makes these decisions? Who has such a total misunderstanding of the way that the internet- and by extension, almost everyone under 40 – works that they green light this kind of travesty? The man who’s deputy Prime minister, that’s who. We are truly fucked.
Still, Clegg’s a rich turncoat heading to the comfy obscurity of a lifetime peerage, why should he give a toss? It turns out he’s not the only one dropping schoolboy errors. As this fairly mean spirited article in the Guardian pointed out, Clean Bandit haven’t been looking too clever this week (as opposed to every other week, obvs). Here's what they've been up to:
Yep, the toothy ‘house music’ foursome have popped up in a strange, awkward peon to a talking mobile phone, that concludes with one of them trying to – hrmmm – chat up the phone? Is that what he’s doing? Is that what it’s come to? Has stardom depraved that formerly nice young Home Counties boy to such an extent that anything with even a robotic semblance of life has become nothing but a canvas for him to smear his dreadful urges upon? The shame! The infamy! That poor phone, quivering in his blood red grasp, as feverish tongue licks swollen lips in unholy anticipation. I think I need a lie down.
But to be fair to the vapid chancers, why shouldn’t they look awkward? Look at them laughing at some shit joke like they’ve just caught the villain in Scooby Doo… it’d be worse if they looked comfortable – at least they’ve got the self-awareness, somewhere deep in their withered souls, to know that they are doing something fundamentally rubbish. But whilst everyone is lining up to give ‘em a good shoeing, no ones doing the same when Dave Clarke’s collecting that Denon money. What’s the difference? I’d say that Clean Bandit use Microsoft mobile phones just as regularly as Dave Clarke uses Denon CDJs- ie not very fucking often. You can say they come across as insipid, but seriously have you heard their music? what did you expect? They're not exactly the Sabbath are they? Did you expect them to crush the phone up and snort it? As it is, I'm still reeling that one of them wants to fuck it. Much as I’d like to have a go, the hypocrisy of ‘real music fans’ lining up to treat Clean Bandit’s grasping corporate work as being somehow worse than, say Richie Hawtin’s grasping corporate work, is a little bit galling. They’re all bastards. And so are you, with your iPhone and your Nikes and your sly reading of the Daily Mail website you big slag.
Moving on. The weirdest, most awkward piece of marketing seen all week has to be the launch of TIDAL. If this passed you by, here’s what happened: The richest musicians in the world want you to start paying more money for streaming so they can make more money because art. Jay-Zs come up with a service to facilitate this. So far, so ho hum. It’s no skin off my balls if people want to give Jay-Z more money to blow on trannies and tickets to the moon. But why was the launch so, so strange? Here it is:
Like some primary school for aging icons, a small, smiley woman called register, whilst the biggest stars in the world shuffled out to stand in a stiff, single file line and the audience- presented with the unfettered glory of the BIGGEST. STARS. IN. THE.WORLD managed some half hearted whoops. woo. Some of the stars remembered to smile at their neighbour. Some slumped their shoulders and looked embarrased, having never been on stage before (might need to check that bit). Kanye looked tiny, bless. Chris Martin and Calvin Harris appeared as giant, grey grimacing faces on vast, hanging TV screens, like totalitarian reimaginings of Max Headroom. There was a stilited atmosphere settling on the room, and amongst all the jerky movements, awkward postures and complete lack of charisma, I started to suspect that the bipeds we saw up there were, in fact, robot stand-ins being controlled by psy-link from Jay Z’s Malibu mansion. Although I doubt the jiggaman would co-sign robots that were so crap at pretending to be human.
As the big hitters rolled out, Usher, Jack White, Rihanna, some country guy that only Americans could possibly care about, Madonna, Daft Punk, the questions piled up. Where the hell were the real icons? When was the Tupac hologram coming? WHERE WAS WILEY FAM? Plus, also, why is Deadmau5’s mask from Poundland? Strangest of all, why was Alicia Keys delivering the major speech? That really baffled me – I’m no Keys hater (Empire State of Mind's, a classic, mate) but, Christ, she’s not the most exciting orator on the planet. I was hoping that Kanye was gonna dash the mic out of her hand and present it to Beyonce on bended knee, but no. #ULetMeDownYeezy. The speech droned on and on, and I switched off. If anyone's got to the bottom of what the hell it is they're on about give me a nudge and I'll take a break from torrenting high quality wavs of the entire Interscope back catalogue long enough to listen.
So what can we conclude from these weird, embarrassing videos? Are there any lessons learnt. Probably not. But, in conclusion,
1) People who come up with marketing campaigns have no grasp or understanding of the humankind
2) Because robot overlords are taking over the world.
3) The end.