We were so excited when we saw the wooden box on our desk with the words “Bob Marley” branded into the top. A CD box set? Possibly–if we are very very lucky–a box set of 7″s? With little booklets that have liner notes full of interesting and amazing facts about one of the word's seminal performers of reggae music?
No. It was none of those things. It was a box full of Bob Marley
energy drinks relaxation drinks. They are called Mellow Mood, after a song that appeared on the B-side of the 1966 song “Bend Down Low”. Often hailed as one of Marley's first masterpieces, it is now the name of a concoction consisting of valerian and corn syrup and some other herbs whose effectiveness has not been evaluated by the FDA.
This is not the first time a legendary song, band, or musician has been used in bad taste to hock cheap wares or advance corporate interests, and it probably won't be the last. What follows is a list of five other horrific examples thereof.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Song: Forever Young
The iconic folk-singer who wrote countless protest songs and has been a major figure of American music for over five decades appeared in 2009 with Will.i.am to perform Forever Young in an effort to advertise Pepsi Cola products to Super Bowl fans. You know, Pepsi? The $43 billion dollar snack food and beverage multinational corporation currently developing special products to
give sell to malnourished and starving people in the global south.
The Guardian seemed somewhat disgusted when it wrote:
The advertisement, entitled Refresh Anthem, will likely air during this Sunday's Superbowl game. These commercials cost £2m for every 30 seconds and Pepsi are reportedly considering three or four different spots for the game. Only one of these spots features the man who wrote Blowin' In the Wind and the man who co-wrote My Humps.
The commercial features a “mash up” of Bob Dylan's Forever Young and Will.I.Am's doubtless poignant interpretation. Will.I.Am will perform over a “visual collage of iconic images celebrating generations past and present”, Pepsi said in a statement. They may show footage, for instance, of Bob Dylan drinking Pepsi. Or Will.I.Am drinking Pepsi. And if they are lucky, of Barack Obama drinking Pepsi.
Artist: Janis Joplin
Song: Mercedes Benz
Product: Mercedes Benz
Janis Joplin, blues singer, rock'n'roller, and rebel, recorded this a capella tongue-and-cheek song as the B-side to “Cry Baby” and it is considered one of her best and best known tracks . The song showed off her vocal skills, and the lyrics ridiculed consumerism while also acknowledging the degree to which she was unwillingly ensnared in its clutches. A song of “great social and political import”, in her own words, that left the listener wondering if she was or wasn't just a teeny bit serious. The ad features a fleet of Mercedes escaping their garages and heading for a dealership warehouse, or something that looks sort of like a dealership warehouse while playing “Mercedes Benz” on the radio. The ad ends with P.Diddy looking for his silver Mercedes. Ha! Ha! Ha! Get it??? This ad also aired during the Super Bowl.
Song: All You Need is Love
Product: Luv's Diapers
Hey Lost fans! Remember when Charlie's band Drive Shaft sells one of their songs to a Butties diaper commercial and Liam is too jacked up on heroin to go through with it and the whole thing is supposed to be totally depressing and indicate that Drive Shaft has fallen on hard times or why else would they sell their song to a diaper company? You don't watch Lost? OK well have you heard of the Beatles? They had this song called “All You Need is Love” and there's this company that makes Luvs diapers and, well. The rest is just too sad. And yes, this is a cover but the Beatles had to agree to the rights to cover the song.
Artist: Kurt Cobain
Product: Chuck Taylors
You know what's punk rock? Chuck Taylors. You know what would make them even more punk rock than they already are? Going to punkyourchucks.com and purchasing Chucks handpainted with a picture of Kurt Cobain. With Angel wings. Angel wings because he's dead, see? Awwww, angel wings, so lol adorable! And to get your custom Chucks with Kurt Cobain with angel wings, you only need to pay $220! According to punkyourchucks.com:
We custom create each pair of Converse sneakers by purchasing actual Converse shoes in your size and choice of color. From there, our talented celebrity artist, AKA MAG painstakingly hand paints original designs onto each shoe.
Each pair of our custom Converse sneakers is completely original and unique to you and is specially signed by the artist for authenticity. Consider it a piece of art that you can wear! We do not use iron-ons nor is the imagery printed onto the shoes. Our artist spends many hours carefully painting the design of your choice for a completely customized shoe. Each pair is waterproof and washable with a damp cloth.
If Kurt were alive today, he'd probably order his very own, don't you think?
Artist: Iggy Pop
Song: Lust For Life
Product: Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
You know what I think of when I think of the Caribbean, or cruises, or anything royal? Punk rock, that's what. Punk rock, and Detroit, and drugs. That's why Iggy Pop's ode to drug culture is a perfect way to sell shuffleboard and bingo to Olds.