Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wash Your Punk Down with some Hip-Hop?

Commercials freak me out. Especially the ones with little kids talking about juice. Yikes.

But two newish commercials aren't freaking me out as much as they seem to be signifying the ultimate de-fanging/crossover of two (historically or potentially) radical musical genres.*

The first one is the "Punky Chips Ahoy, Oi! Oi!." In this commercial, cherubic claymation punks (white kids with green liberty spikes and mohawks, combat boots, and cuffed jeans) and a giant, puffy-looking cookie cabaret kick their way down a London street as fisher-price sounding buzz-saw guitars churn their way through anemic Sex Pistols-style chords. They're singing all about "punky chips ahoy" until they're interrupted by a scowling bobby with a billy club who informs them -- "it's not PUNKY, it's CHUNKY." Oh, hilarious first-letter confusion!!!

Now, I feel compelled to tell you that the SB describes this commercial as "really cute." I also have a hunch that some of you will get a kick out of reading about how one singer was dubbed "too punky for cookie commercials." Interesting, since as the SB notes, this quality of "punkiness" is something -- in the corporate mind -- that is totally separate from the performance of punk. Moreover, the British version of punk sort of declared itself sold-out from the start, so the fact that it has taken 30 years to make it into a snack food commercial gestures towards a meta-meta cycle of corporate-capitalist culture.

There is another commercial I'd like to talk to you about, and this one is for Pepto-Bismol. This commercial involves hip-hoppers rapping about the virtues of Pepto. I wish I remembered this commercial better; I only saw it once and I can't find it on the web. But the fact that rap is being used to market an upset-stomach aid strikes me as a little novel. I already bemoaned the use of hip-hop in the AVIS commercials, which struck me as borderline offensive (white business men in ties rapping along to a song about "stacking cheese;" but when the boss calls it's all silence and "yes sirs." The grafting of gangsta-style rap onto corporate-lackeys in a rental care just sorta makes me sick). Anyway...pepto.

So I was trying to find evidence of the hip-hop pepto-bismol, and came across this bizarre pepto-bismol dance machine. I don't know if advertising has produced anything weirder than this. If you can think of something, please let me know. The person who offers their weirdest example gets an extra- special, fluffy dollar$ postcard with a personal message handcrafted by moi.

*I know neo-"punk" is full of "sell outs," and yes, I can see how "commercial" laffy-taffy style hip-hop isn't particularly, er, radical. But ya gotta admit, chips ahoy and pepto -- pretty toothless.


Jenny said...

I have to admit I really like the punky chips ahoy commericial. Those punky cookies are so cute. It reminds me of Amelia Bedelia.

Julie said...

The hip-hop Pepto commercial: putting the "G" in "GI Distress."

Elyce Rae Helford said...

I feel so unhip. I haven't seen EITHER commercial. I know that seeing little white kids doing hip-hop reminds me that the biggest buyers of gangsta CDs continue to be privileged white suburban kids. And I think just about anything is better than those Southern kids doing Welch's grape juice ads.

Then there's the fact that I did a sophomore HS English speech on the punk movement and the Sex Pistols back in 1978. Made my teacher play the 45 of God Save the Queen (still own it) on the schools "portable" record player. She turned it off after about 10 seconds. "That's enough," quoth she. But I got an A on the speech, which is more than I can say about the rest of my high school English career.

But can I talk about my least favorite commercial for a sec? It's the new ad for Malibu rum and I can't remember the precise slogan, but it takes place at an outdoor tiki bar hut thing and features "natives" talking on decades-old mobile phones and acting like morons about it. The punchline is something about how what makes the Caribbean great is how mellow everyone is (and out-of-date, lazy, and "don't worry be happy"-like). It's so racist and offensive I can't believe it's on TV! How long before they pull the ad is anyone's guess, but I'd say SOON.

Penultimatina said...

Holy cow, what is UP with that oi oi oi commercial? I thought I was having some creepy flashback to an all-ages show I went to in Detroit circa 1992...

cheesemeister said...

I actually like the "Punky Chips Ahoy" and even the "Hip Hop Pepto" commercials in a guilty pleasure sort of way, but I'm kind of a social retard so that says something.
Myself, I'm waiting for the Death Metal Arsenic commercial to be released.