Tag Archives: advertising

Reason # 4287 – Branding Peace, John Lennon For Sale

How many of you were unlucky enough to hear the award winning seven hour radio show, Dreaming of the Past (more aptly named Living in the past) which commemorated the 25th anniversary of Lennon’s assassination when it aired last year? It was pretty hard to avoid at least even hearing about it, unless you completely shut off the radio and stopped reading magazines and papers, which isn’t always a bad thing. Especially in a case like this.

To make sure everyone in the universe was aware of this historic broadcast they bombarded the airwaves for over two months prior to the event with sixty second commercials disguised as programs called, A Minute of Lennon.

I’ll agree, its a nice idea to honor the deceased beatle like this, after all he did have a positive message to send out after he left the FF. Lennon has obviously done more for world peace than Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, and even Bob Geldof, yet he still gets so little press these days it’s a miracle we haven’t forgotten his name!

You must be wondering what great humanitarian organizations and peace activists pulled together to produce this incredible testament to the memory of the immortal Lennon.
Well, it was those thoughtful folks at…..AN ADVERTISING AGENCY!

You mean…this was about making money, not honoring the deceased and his gifts to the world? Exploiting the dead for profit? Are there no cosmetic creams left to hustle? Rotgut beer to hawk? Cigarettes for children? Pesticides? Erectile dysfunction pills?

Surely there must be more to this than putting gas in their Range Rovers and vacationing in the French West Indies. Right??

Lets hear if from the horses mouth:

“We try to come up with interesting radio programs that advertisers can leverage. Branded entertainment is something I’m not sure is even happening in Canada. So we’ve created a seven-hour radio special around Lennon.”

If you’re not aware of what branded entertainment is, here’s a quick definition:
It’s hiding ads in material written for a target audience, creating an affinity between the brand and the subject matter. Backwards product placement. Coke doesn’t pay Martin Scorsese to film coke bottles in every scene, they hire some schmuck to write Scorsese a movie where it’s integral to the plot.
In other words: they used John Lennon to sell you cars, donuts and tires.

In regards to the two month shock and wealth campaign, also known as A Minute of Lennon, they had this to say:

“We’re building a long-term, loyal audience over two months through 65 one-minute programs called A Minute of Lennon to keep listeners hooked. Within each 60-second spot is a 30-second audio tag for Toshiba, our title sponsor,”
Other sponsors were Goodyear and of course EMI Music.

Step aside tampons, sneakers and laundry detergent, the shysters found a new way to hock the beatles! Geez, I can’t wait to see what they’ll sell when all the FF are dead!

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Once again, if you think I’m making this up go read it for yourself:


Link to the full article

At least now you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that sleazebag in the power boat tearing through your lake drunk on $300 brandy was funded by you.

Reason # 4234 – Corn Flakes, Mind control, and Manipulation

John Lennon was inspired to write Good Morning, Good Morning by watching a Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Commercial. It made its way onto the hugely popular Sgt Peppers album. He found the catchy jingle irritating enough to make a song from to irritate the entire world.

Another Corn Flake inspired masterpiece came in the form of I am The Walrus.
Listen to this rare outtake as an example of how far Lennon would go to push the public in whatever direction he fancied.

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This particular version was scrapped for being much too blatant. Besides, they didn’t hold enough shares in Kellogg’s to make this pitch worthwhile. The beatles had more important things to sell, mainly themselves.

But really, advertising is the only reason this band exists today at all.

Does it strike you at all odd that when the Anthology Volumes 1 & 2 were released a few years back it made headlines internationally? Think about it, the same old shit you already own on cd, plus some outtakes and b-sides that have never been good enough to be released or played on the air to this day. That’s news?
How about the fact that to coincide with this release there was a six hour network TV broadcast on several channels?(available for purchase now) You would have to be an idiot to think this is all coincidence, goodwill, good timing, or even public interest.
It was a six hour infomercial!
If they wanted to sell you a beatle juicer and a beatle butt-plug, you would have bought those too.

This was a merciless, overwhelming assault on the general public for the sole purpose of putting more crap by these fake rock icons on the bestseller shelves. It didn’t start there, and it didn’t stop there. The entire reason for beatlemania in the first place was a well executed, well thought out, multi-billion dollar advertising blitz. Actors were paid to faint during their concerts and help incite the young crowds, their posters were hung in every record store and on every corner, their faces on the cover of every magazine, and when they travelled to the US they were already huge stars. In 1964…..WITHOUT EVEN RELEASING ANYTHING!

THEY HADN’T EVEN BEEN PLAYED ON THE RADIO YET!!!!

BEATLEMANIA WAS CREATED TO SELL MEET THE BEATLES IN AMERICA!

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Once again, if you think I’m making this up, here is a copy of the original December 1963 Capitol Records memo for sales managers and regional managers, outlining the initial “Beatles Campaign”. Click to open and read it for yourself, friends.

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I especially like the National Record News section on page two, where they describe how they created a magazine to promote the beatles with a four page spread. Here’s the excerpt:

“NATIONAL RECORD NEWS – BEATLE ISSUE”
Publicity Director Fred Martin has concocted a simply marvelous vehicle for spreading the Beatle story. It’s a four-page tabloid newspaper which looks deceptively legitimate. But of course it’s our doing, and all it contains is picture after picture and story after story on the Beatles.

You’ll be getting huge quantities of this tabloid. How to exploit it? Send bulk copies to major retailers for distribution to consumers. Offer bulks to jocks for give-away. But most important, make arrangements with local high schoolers to distribute them to fellow students after school (check with George Gerken on those arrangements).
The idea is to get as many copies of this tabloid as possible into the hands of potential Beatle buyers. Don’t, under any circumstances, end up with any large quantities of this tabloid sitting in your back room. They won’t help there!

Unless people wake up, the FF marketing campaign will never stop and the beatles will continue to exist as everybody’s favorite commodity. If you have to listen to them, at least know why you bought the albums. Love. Beatles Naked. Beatles One. Think about it, thats all I ask.

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In the words of the immortal John Lennon: “The Queen’s intelligent. It won’t spoil her cornflakes.”