Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

It’s a Shocka

It’s probably the first time that hair gel has made the headlines since “There’s Something About Mary”. As electrohouse tracks go, Shocka featuring Honeyshot’s “Style, Attract, Play” had more than enough beeps and bleeps under the bonnet to warrant specialist …

Fri, May 11, 2007, 10:17

   

It’s probably the first time that hair gel has made the headlines since “There’s Something About Mary”.

As electrohouse tracks go, Shocka featuring Honeyshot’s “Style, Attract, Play” had more than enough beeps and bleeps under the bonnet to warrant specialist radio support from such BBC Radio One DJs as Judge Jules and Annie Nightingale.

No-one batted an eye-lid about the track until Popjustice took an interest. Last year, the pop website ran a very interesting piece about a band called Honeyshot who had been put together by a GUM, a subsidary of advertising giants Saatchi & Saatchi. Honeyshot were a band available for hire to any brand who wanted to market their products to a target demographic. It was marketing with a pop twist.

Fast-forward a few months and “Style, Attract, Play” is starting to get airplay on such UK stations as BBC Radio 1, Kiss and XFM. Popjustice sat up and paid attention when they noticed that the track was on the GUM label and the title happened to be a motto used by hair gel pushers Shockwaves. They began to do some digging and other publications quickly joined in.

The upshot? BBC Radio One banned the dodgy track with indecent haste. “As this is created by an advertising agency with the sole purpose of selling this product, and we do not play adverts, it is not something we would play again”, commented a spokesperson.

Popjustice’s Peter Robinson calls the whole affair a “new low” in marketing terms and wonders how it will impact on the brand. “If I realised I’d been cynically duped like this, I’d be even less trusting of the brand”, he said.

While you could argue that the Shocka campaign has already done what GUM intended it to do, this kind of coverage is probably not what Shockwaves and their corporate parent Proctor & Gamble had in mind when they let their marketing department loose.

Having BBC Radio One jocks innocently bigging up your catchphrase is one thing, but getting the track banned and your viral campaign uncovered and lambasted is probably not something to highlight on the old CV.

Yet with conventional sponsorship and other brand associations losing their lustre, there may well be other Shockas to come. The question is not so much will it happen, but more will we notice.

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