Sell-Out Report: Kinks, Kermit Edition. Also: Beasties Boys Screen 'AWESOME'
Perhaps Ray Davies has found both a way to ease the ache he might feel from missing the Kinks, and to pass some time until their possible reunion: counting enormous stacks of money, then spending it.
Four Kinks songs written by Davies have been licensed for assorted commercial purposes in the United States. However, the first source I could find to put a dollar figure on the sales is The Sunday Times, which says the band will collect 6 million pounds for the use of the four songs, which the paper says is the most a British band has ever been paid for commercial use of their songs. At the moment, 6 million pounds converts to $10,360,174.39 in the States, $12,015,161.36 in the land of Tim Horton's and ending sentences with "eh?", and a whopping 728,011,215.17 in Iceland Kronur.
So what songs could be worth that much cash? And who are these wealthy companies, anyway, able to toss away hundreds of millions of Kronur like they're AOL CD-ROMs?
Well, Americans can look forward (or not) to hearing "All Day And All Of The Night" on commercials for Tide detergent. Yeah! What's more Rock N' Roll than clean laundry? Not sure that anything is more rock than clean clothes, but there might be a tie, because the same song has been used by Kohl's, Saab, and GM in the past "couple of years". Hopefully it gets less expensive with each licensing agreement. Its commercial value seems likely to be diluted as the public gets more and more tired of it and comes to think of it less as a "song I like" and more as a "song that is constantly being used in different commercials".
"Everybody's Gonna Be Happy" has been licensed to Abbott Laboratories to promote medicine(s); insert your own disbelieving and/or sarcastic remark [HERE]. "Lola" will be used to hawk the services of la la, which is a company planning on facilitating CD swaps for a fee, and giving 20% of their revenue to musicians.
"I'm Not Like Everybody Else" is being used in an IBM ad, which debuted yesterday. The ad is part of IBM's new "Innovation That Matters" campaign. It shows people "who appear to be singing along" to the tune, which "speaks to the new positioning: 'I'm Not Like Anybody Else.'" The message is apparently that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else! Perhaps IBM couldn't find a song they liked called, "I'm Like A Snowflake".
The copy on the screen during the IBM commercial asks: "What makes you DIFFERENT? What makes you UNIQUE? What makes you SPECIAL?" At the beginning of the ad, we see "a stream of blue flower petals that emerge from a factory's smokestack and float over various settings, such as a cluster of office cubicles or the baby ward in a hospital."
Chris Wall, co-executive creative director at Ogilvy & Mather, the firm behind the campaign, explains that the flowers are a metaphor for hope, optimism, and change, as well as "a deliberate kind of magic symbol." Trippy. You are different, unique, and special, and the magical, uh, flower petals, of IBM recognize that, and can help you with their innovative ways. They even know you like the "rock and roll" music, especially bands like the Kinks, whose music has a certain "timelessness". That might be another way of calling it "classic rock", which might be another way of saying "this is likely to appeal to baby boomers".
Then again, even Kermit the Frog (who has only existed as a frog since 1969) sold out his song "Bein' Green to hawk a vehicle. Apparently, however, the corporation might have been better off stealing some other beloved green icon of childhood, then trying to sell it back to us for thousands of dollars. Perhaps The Hulk?
And sure, Miss Piggy was already doing ads for a fast-food restaurant, but everyone already knew she was pretty much a whore. But Kermit the Frog? If a puppet can have a soul, Kermit should have had one, and it should not have had a price tag, not even a cute one.
The Kinks - Everybody's Gonna Be Happy (from Kinda Kinks, etc.)
The Kinks - I'm Not Like Everybody Else (from Kinkdom, etc.)
And for this lyric:
I might stick around or I might be a fad
But I won't sell my songs for no TV ad
Beastie Boys - Putting Shame In Your Game (from Hello Nasty)
A Beastie Boys concert film, AWESOME: I FUCKIN' SHOT THAT!, assembled from footage shot by 50 audience members at an October 2004 concert (from 50 camcorders returned to the store the next day) will be released on March 31st.
On March 23rd at 8:00 PM, "AWESOME" screenings will be held in many cities across the U.S. and at 9:00 PM in several Canadian cities. A mini-movie featuring David Cross will be shown exclusively at these screenings.