Where taste and odiousness collide are advertising and advertising executives found. In the mix of today’s headiest media output (a greater output by a vast multiple than any other time) advertising has become ubiquitous with popular culture and we’re powerless to stop it.
The advent of the corporation, following the rise of business in the boom years post World War II, led to the growth in marketing as a serious commodity that a business could be judged by. The popularity of businesses as brands was accelerated dramatically at this point and advertising was the catalyst. Bill Gates once said that if he only had two dollars left he would spend it on marketing, such is its importance in the world of corporate power management. In fact, when Kraft were purchased by Philip Morris they were overvalued in respect of their actual asset value because the brand recognition was so strong. Good advertising created that.
There is so much money behind advertising these days that the best film-makers and artists have been and are continuously involved. Big name directors doing adverts and shoddy promotional work with brand ‘partnerships’. They claim to be pushing the envelope, reinventing the genre, generating art through an accepted media. It’s a load of fucking bullshit and they should just admit that they were offered a massive wedge to do a job, like the rest of us would, and do. Except, we don’t get asked to because we’re not well known and have no endorsement to offer.
Where I really get annoyed though is celebrity endorsement. I don’t mean the kind of Heat celebrity endorsement either. Those guys – Peter Andre, Kerry Katona etc – are faces and nothing else. They have no discernible talent beyond the ability to stay in the public eye so, advertising is neither here nor there for them. They are the commodity. So, that not my problem.
My problem is the people who purport not to be fame-huggers and spend their time trying to push their artistry towards us. Kevin Spacey, Josh Brolin, Adrian Brody, Gwyneth Paltrow. The list is almost completely endless. They would have us think that they are artists and professionals, creative and sympathetic people. Often political and outspoken. But, they still do the advertising, for cars, cameras, perfumes and whatever else. These are multi-millionaires who are whoring out their crafted and well-paid personas for the sake of another cheque. They are gladly handing over their credibility, that they know people respond to, are are giving it to the brands to use. Because people see Kevin Spacey using a particular camera the assumption is they’ll think:
‘Oh, I like Kevin Spacey, Oscar winning actor, artist and director of the Old Vic, and he likes this camera, therefore it must share some of his attributes and I will therefore like it also’.
The worst part of this – no, not the part where someone is actually that stupid – is that he knows it and did it anyway. What a total washout of a man. What a charlatan.
Somebody once said that all art is prostitution. I believe that it is a prostitution of the idea, but not of the soul. I do however believe that any artist who decides it’s OK to take corporate money for their creation, their name, their face or their voice gives up the right to be called an artist. They are a whore and they can qualify it any way they want but it comes down to this:
If you give the world a set of values and qualities that you wish to be recognised by, and you attain that recognition from an audience of people, but then you sell the use of that trust to a third party, well, you are nothing more than a fraud and a peddler.
You have given up your qualities and you are merely a commodity that will be used by the man you’ve sold yourself to. Your ‘John’ in fact, for you are a whore.