Johnny Rotten and butter? Iggy Pop and car insurance? What has the world become.
It was a day that will live in my mind forever. A day that something earth shattering happened, scarring the minds of millions of people across the country. When I first saw it, I had to hold down a tsunami of vomit that tried to course up through my snaking insides. I sat down shaken at the images unfolding in front of my tear-glazed eyes. Yes, you probably remember it too. It was the day I saw Iggy Pop in a car insurance ad. I know it hurts, and I’m sorry for bringing this up but I have noticed it happening in the world of the advert: using former big time Charlie’s, who are now a little burnt out, to sell stuff.
The Iggy Pop travesty is painful. I love Iggy and the Stooges. To see him selling car insurance is like when you’re a kid and you have an older cousin who seems really cool. They can play the guitar and have a scooter and always let you play on their computer (when I grew up that was cool because not many people had home computers). But then when you grow up and the playing field levels out, you find out he is now a lonely 40-year-old man who eats microwave meals and watches The X-Files every night because he thinks Scully is his girlfriend. Not cool.
I don’t care how purple and “edgy” Swift Cover make the background and font, or if they can save you time or whatever. All I care about is that Swift Cover insurance have transformed someone awesome into a door-to-door salesman. He must have been desperate, he has to have been? Maybe he needs a life saving operation to replace all his organs, decimated by years of drugs and drink? If that is the case I expect to see Keith Richards replacing Tony the Tiger in the near future.
Another advert that made me freak out was Johnny Rotten selling Country Life butter.
When I first saw this one I was at a friend’s place at the end of a messy party. It had wound down and I was semi passed out on the couch. Someone must have come in the room and switched the TV on. I roused for a moment and saw this abomination, finding it so seriously unbelievable and depressing that I was convinced it was a hallucination or someone had spiked my drink. I went ape shit, screamed until I saw stars then made myself sick to get whatever it was out of my system.
Flipping out aside, the thing I find most strange about this ad is whom exactly are they aiming it at? Most butter ads are homely or involve cows, because we all know that butter comes from cow’s tears, right? Well, this is neither.
It’s kind of rude and abrasive (which you would expect from Rotten) and is trying to be funny. But butter is none of those things, unless you put glass in it and feed it to an under appreciated and slightly over the hill children’s party clown. What would the Johnny Rotten of 1977 or a young Iggy Pop think of themselves if they were able to see what they have become?
The only rock star I want to see in a crap advert is Bono selling B&Q garden furniture
Maybe that’s what happened to Hendrix. Maybe he was able to time travel and saw himself in 2010, advertising Heinz baked beans. The next day he is found drowned in his own vomit. There is literally only one scenario of a former rock star in a crap advert that would make me happy and that would be Bono advertising B&Q garden furniture. Not because they are paying him loads of money but because he lost all his money and fame and then had to get a job at B&Q. I would love that.
But nothing can take away the heart ache of seeing one of your heroes reduced to the role of shiny salesman. It’s a weird feeling of loss and anger, very similar to not being able to find a remote control. I guess we should just accept that our heroes are human and like all the rest of us normals, they also sometimes have to do something shit for money. But maybe they could be a little choosier about what they are selling. Seriously, Johnny Rotten selling butter? Not exactly the work of anarchists.