Katy Perry's Prism album comes with a piece of paper encrusted with seeds. Plant this album.
It's turned out to be a terrible idea, though - not just because it's a rip-off of Richard Brautigan's 1968 poetry book, but because it's dangerous. A letter in the Guardian at the weekend from the International Plant Protection Convention explains:
Regrettably, the album was manufactured and sold internationally along with seeds of unidentified origin, which has caught the attention of the IPPC and our member national plant protection organisations around the world. Although the distribution of seeds by Ms Perry, as evidenced by her Twitter account, was to "spread the light", our work focuses on ensuring the safe trade of plants and plant products and, most importantly, protecting plants from harmful pests and diseases to protect food production and the environment.An album promo campaign which never, ever stops eating all your seed corn. Puts Avril Lavigne doing interviews pretending to still be 16 in a kindlier light, doesn't it?
We cannot turn a blind eye to Prism and its possible repercussions. Seeds could easily introduce an invasive new species to an environment, like the wood-boring beetle, resulting in widespread destruction. Depending on the species of flower inside Prism's seed paper, the risks may be small, but commercial movement of seeds into many countries is subject to assessment of those risks, restrictions and prohibitions. The introduction of pests can results in millions of dollars in damage, and some pests can never be eradicated.
Australia has already flagged the record as a biosecurity hazard, and while they're taking it seriously, they can't hide a ripple of excitement that there's finally a showbiz glow attached to the normally grey world of not destroying the planet:
[Vanessa Findlay, Australia's chief plant protection officer] says she cannot recall a time where the Department of Agriculture and pop music have crossed paths.And, hey, if it takes a beetle destroying Australia to make that happen, that's a price worth paying, right?
"It's caused quite a stir around here. We've had lot of people walking around the halls talking about the Katy Perry CD," she said.
"Most people are excited to think that there's an attachment between biosecurity and someone as popular as Katy Perry."
And she says employees with kids have found themselves the source of some unexpected attention.
"I think most of us are famous at schools around Australia at the moment because [kids are saying] 'my mum and dad are working with Katy Perry'," she said.