Sunday, May 06, 2007

Style, Extract, Pay: Honeyshot flops

Good work over at PopJustice, which has turned itself into a Panorama-style investigative journalist outfit to out the band Shocka featuring Honeyshot. Following PJ's pointing out that the band were a marketing stunt, and their single Style, Attract, Play was effectively an advert for Shockwaves, Radio One has dropped the band from the playlist.

(PopJustice, of course, was able to do the bulk of the research in their own archives - when Honeyshot were merely a Trojan Horse being built by Saatchi and Saatchi to provide a way of "covertly marketing" to young people.

Now, of course, suggesting that this is terrible and wrong is a little bit of a stretch - you could argue that this is merely The New Seekers' I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing, only without the need to make an advert beforehand; or that if using songs to promote commercial products is wrong, then why has nobody complained about when, say, Mission Impossible soundtrack singles get spun on Radio One when, really, that's just about getting people out to see the movie or buy the DVD as much as the Shocka single is trying to get people to use styling products.

But there's something doubly unethical and stinking about this - it's not just that the connection between product and track is intentionally hidden, but that the marketing push seems to be little more than trying to get the advert strapline repeated over and over again. "Style, Attract, Ein Fuhrer" or whatever it is, just being repeated, as if that should be enough. It's like Saatchi and Saatchi are trying to market through mantra, a bid at hypnotism rather than sales.

Adding to the general stench that everyone involved knows a line has been crossed, when The Guardian started to poke about, the first response was to deny everything:

Initially, the Shockwaves press office said it knew nothing about the song and its relationship to the brand. But a spokeswoman called back later to admit "there may be a link" and would confirm when she knew more.

Several hours later a different spokeswoman said she could not speak to anyone at Procter & Gamble, the company which owns Shockwaves, and therefore could not comment further.

Clearly, if Procter & Gamble were comfortable with their part in this dupery, they wouldn't be hiding behind the corporate sofa hoping the people with questions will go away.

The first rule of good corporate behaviour is: if you don't want to own up to what you've created, don't create it in the first place.

Shockwaves, of course, is the sponsor of the NME Awards at the moment. That might make for an interesting event next year.

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