Exploitation of Dead Rock Stars: Crossing the Line?

As I hope most people would realize reading the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll, I'm a big music fan... (perhaps big is an understatement). There has always been a connection between advertisements and rock and roll whether it be the use of a song for a soundtrack, sponsored concert events, or artist product endorsements. Seeing musicians in ads is nothing new as like all celebrities, rock stars are often sought out to help sell whatever the corporate world is peddling.

Still, more often than not these are live artists who have agreed to do the campaign or endorsement. What about the dead though?

Kurt Cobain, Joey Ramone, Sid Vicious and Joe Strummer... What do these 4 rock icons have in common?

- All were part of some of the most memorable rock and roll bands of all time... Nirvana, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, and the Clash, respecitvely.

- All died a bit before their time... Cobain from suicide in 1994, Ramone from cancer in 2001, Vicious from an overdose in 1979, and Strummer from heart attack in 2002.

- And, all four are used post mortem in an ad campaign by Doc Marten.

I first read about this campaign via PunkNews.org and it struck a bit of a negative chord with me (and with them as well apparently). I can understand the mindset behind advertisements like this from a marketing perspective, and I believe that advertising does have its place. It does fund the Soul of Rock 'n' roll and thousands of other sites like it across the Internet, so it can't be a complete evil. Besides, without advertisements we would not know about thousands of products that can improve our lives and thousands of people would be without jobs. That said, I also think there is a bit too much advertising in the world and believe that often there are exploitive practices going on with the only motivation being the almighty buck.

Normally I can assume that advertisements are nothing but a pack of lies and move on to better things. Sometimes though, it just doesn't sit well with me and I feel the need to rant about how the corporate world is, at times, significantly more concerned with making money and selling that with ethics, respect or decency. I guess this ad campaign is a good example of one of those times.

Maybe it is because each of these musicians and their respective bands seem far more anti corporate that the types who would be out their endorsing products left and right... Maybe it is because using punk and grunge bands and musicians for advertising or selling anything seems like an insult to the bands... Or maybe it is just because I'm a bit old fashion and believe in respecting the dead and not exploiting any person dead or alive.

As I said, I can see their mindset in this ad, but this seems just a bit exploitive. In the end, this is really a question about society not music at all.

Is nothing sacred anymore? I'll leave you to make up your own minds.

You can read the original article I saw here at PunkNews.org: http://www.punknews.org/article/23803


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