Thursday, October 20, 2005


A gentleman - to whom our hat is tipped - forwards us communications from Republic Media, the advertising agency whose solemn sworn duty is to promote the Crazy Frog and, in particular, the assault being made on the charts this Christmas. To our astonishment, who should turn up mid-press release but our old chum, Gennaro Castaldo, offering a sheen of HMV-endorsed respectability to the whole endeavour:

Gennaro Castaldo, HMV spokesman "Westlife won't have forgotten that they came off second best to Bob the Builder in Christmas 2000, so they may not relish a chart encounter with the Crazy Frog this time around. It might be an irritatingly catchy tune, but novelty songs always sell well at Christmas and you'd be foolish to write off the Crazy Frog's chances."

You'll notice Castaldo's trademark reticence there - not actually saying for certain Christmas will be ruined, but not ruling it out, either.

There's something else curious about the release, too, in the press quote from the Frog himself. It's not just why, if he's able to talk, he restricts himself to just making stupid noises on his records - even Bobby McFerrin realised it was better to have the odd verse. No, what puzzled us was this:

The title of the Crazy Frog’s Christmas single has been shrouded in secrecy “I’ll be revealing it soon enough” he croaked, “but you can expect it to be everything a perfect festive single should be and, without a doubt, it will be THE song at parties and in the playground this Christmas.”

The song in the playground this Christmas, eh? But hang about a minute... when Jamster were being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority for flogging frog downloads to kids, didn't they deny the character was of any appeal to children?:

Jamster said that there was a popular misconception among some consumers that mobile content and entertainment was of limited appeal to adults, while being of a high degree of interest to younger users. Jamster said this was not the case. They pointed to a recently published German survey on the purchase of ringtones generally which stated that 84% of buyers were 16 years of age or older. They said a survey of visitors to the Jamster website showed that the vast majority were over 16 years. They also referred to the recent success of the Crazy Frog single, which reached number one in the UK. Jamster provided evidence to show that the majority of CD buyers were male aged 18?49 years, which they said clearly showed that the target audience for the Crazy Frog music and ringtone was in this age group, not younger. [...]

Jamster said that Crazy Frog was specifically targeted at an 18- to 49-year-old male audience [...]

Jamster said that many advertisers used animated characters in their ads for products and services aimed at adults. The animated characters appealed to an audience of 16-year-olds and over, just as their ads had.

And yet now, apparently, the Christmas record is being promoted as a certain hit in school playgrounds. Either the Crazy Frog is surprisingly short of self-awareness, or else Jamster were, what's the word, fibbing a little in their defence to the ASA?

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