Rarely a day passes without each and every one of us receiving the mandatory spam e-mail like “Bill Gates is giving away his money... it worked for me... I got $5000!” or “Sick child needs your help” or “Nigerian millionaire will pay you back 10x your loan!” into our already overcrowded inboxes. Even the most respectable newspapers occasionally flash a “Man gets kidney removed after passing out in snow!” or “Alien autopsy... real?” headline occasionally. From the Shroud of Turin, the Voynich Manuscript, the Cerne Abbas Giant and “Paul is dead,” Milli Vanilli and crop circles, hoaxes and scams are simply part of our everyday wack-off-in-the-shower-and-go-to-work lives. Unless it is someone getting shirked or swindled out of their old-age pension (hilarious, but sad) or something about Scott Stapp getting arrested (say it ain’t so!), we just shrug our shoulders and get on with our everyday wack-off-in-the-washroom-while-everyone-else-is-in-a-meeting/in-class/in-church lives.
For the most part, if there’s egg to be splattered on someone else’s face (but NOT a wrinkled old person’s or former Creed singer’s, heaven forbid!) most of us are pretty okay with it. Like, if someone was to pull the wool over some BBC executives' and DJs' sheep-like eyes, it would be a hoot. It has happened, and it is kinda funny.
Radio1 DJs Annie Nightingale and Judge Jules both gave “Style, Attract, Play” by Shocka (featuring Honeyshot) a spin, thinking they were servin’ up the latest piping-hot shit cold. The ditty also played on XFM and Kiss in the U.K. That isn’t anything in itself -- BBC and Kiss and XFM play a lot of bad dance-oriented, global girlie-group, electro crap -- but Honeyshot, the band, is a creation of Gum, a subdivision of advertising giants Saatchi & Saatchi, and “Style, Attract, Play,” the song, is nothing more than an ingenious ad pitch for hair gel brand Shockwaves.
NME reports that a press rep for Shockwaves at first denied all knowledge of the song but later said “there may be a link” between the two, after the track had been pulled by BBC. He then twisted his ‘stache between his thumb and forefinger and declared, “Got you again, you fooooools” (he drew out the “oo” in “fools” to emphasize a dramatic, evil effect) before grabbing his top hat and jumping out the window onto a train that happened to be passing at that very instant.
BBC claims that “Style, Attract, Play” was pushed at them via the usual process. However, no one mentioned it was a promotional song, despite the fact that Honeyshot and the marketing concept surrounding them had already been reported on a few times in the press, the fact that it is by someone called ‘Shocka,’ and the fact that the label bears the name Gum Records. A nameless, faceless spokesman for BBC1 (maybe the idiot that that didn’t clue in at first and playlisted the song, maybe just someone covering for an idiot at the BBC who green-lighted the song for rotation, your choice) said, “The track was presented to Radio 1 in the usual way, via a legitimate promotions company and we were not aware that it was a promotional tool for a hair product. As this is created by an advertising agency with the sole purpose of selling the product, and we do not play adverts, it is not something we would play again.” If only the same could be said about “Crazy Frog” and the dozens of novelty songs that get to number 1 in the U.K. every year. Isn’t every song played on the radio an ad placed by cutthroat music marketers to entice listeners to buy or download a full album anyway?
In a passionate addressing of the situation, Peter Robinson argues that it was important that the song “failed”; however, getting played on Radio 1, XFM, and Kiss, plus getting a ridiculous amount of attention from a world-press heavyweight like The Guardian and evenheavierweights Tiny Mix Tapes could hardly be considered a “failure,” could it? As Robinson himself claims in this article, “one must never underestimate the absurd desperation of companies attempting to Connect With The Kids,” sounding very much like a man who works for an absurd, desperate industry that is forever attempting to Connect With The Kids.
NME also reports that last year Andrew Wilkie, managing director of Gum (the company that created the fictional Honeyshot), offered this prescient nugget into the mind of modern advertising agencies: “It could be as simple as sponsorship of a tour through to clothing that could be worn, drinks, cosmetics -- all that stuff is possible.” Indeed it is, indeed it is.
Heavy research (read: 5Â½ pints and 3 bottle tokes) reveals that this kind of thing has been happening for a lot longer than one would have thought. Our diggers didn’t come up with the exact details of the arrangement, but there has to be some sort of thread between Jose Eber, “Achey Breaky Heart,” and the ensuing “Cyrus virus” and line-dancing combo that took hold of North America in 1992. Well, there is no other reason I can come up with to explain the ridiculous “Tennessee waterfall” atop both of those two douchebags’ heads, can you?