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Friday 5 March 2010

The Ballad Of John & Citroen.

TV ad's can cause such a fuss these days can't they?

A recent case in point being an advert by the French car maker Citroen, for it's DS3 model.

As you can see, the advert features footage of ex Beatle, John Lennon, being interviewed & talking about not rehashing the past & saying "Do something of your own. Start something new, you know? Live your lives now. Know what I mean?"

Now, The Beatles are one of those bands that nobody is allowed to mess with & that is especially true of John Lennon himself. So, when Yoko Ono allowed these images & words of John Lennon to be used in this way, it was bound to create a bit of controversy.

I have no doubt that part of this controversy is being stirred up by those people who have never forgiven Yoko Ono for "breaking up The Beatles". I am not one of those people, by the way.
But, i'll admit that i'm not at all surprised that people have reacted in the way that they have.

After all, The Beatles have always been very protective of every aspect of their music, image etc.
It wasn't that long ago that they finally reached an agreement with Apple Computers, about the use of the "Apple" name. That dispute went on for nearly twenty years, if i remember correctly.
It took 40 years for their original albums to be remastered & repackaged. And The Beatles music is still not available to be downloaded digitally.
So, they are not ones to give up lightly.

Although the advert in question was first shown in the UK on February 14th. The story has taken on a new twist over the past few days, because John Lennons son, Sean, stated on his Twitter account:
"Look, TV ad was not for money. It's just hard to find new ways to keep dad in the new world. Not many things as effective as TV. Having just seen ad I realize why people are mad. But intention was not financial, was simply wanting to keep him out there in the world"

Obviously Sean Lennon was saying this partly to protect his mother & i don't blame any son for doing that. But, to claim that it was done to "find new ways to keep dad in the new world", is going a bit too far, in my opinion.

The Beatles are the most famous rock/pop group that there has ever been. Right across the world. 
They still sell as many records & CD's now, as they have ever done. 
Their recently remastered & repackaged CDs have sold millions of copies in the past year.
The Beatles Rock Band video game has opened up a whole new audience for the band & has also sold countless copies. 
And all of this recent activity has been wonderful publicity for the band, their music & their legacy.
John Lennon, himself, is still one of the most famous people who has ever lived. Well certainly in the past 50 years anyway. 
So, to claim that new ways are needed to keep him in the public eye, is for me at least, complete rubbish.

Maybe i'm old fashioned? 
But, i don't like to see the memory of great people, like John Lennon, being exploited by their family in this kind of way.
If it's to do with the actual music & the art that they produced, that's one thing. But, to exploit the person in an advert in this way, is wrong.

Ultimately, the decision is with those he left behind & i suppose we must respect that. Even if we don't approve of that decision.

I can only wonder what John Lennon, himself, would have made of all of this?



  1. I think what would have been far more offensive would be to use John's image and dub in, "I'm John Lennon, and if I were alive, I'd be driving a Citroen!"

    Instead, we have a great quote, unaltered. AND there's the "Imagine Peace" message shown on the screen for several seconds. Taking advantage of the media's interest in his life to advertise for peace was something John and Yoko worked on together.

    That this is also a product ad, and not just a peace ad is different, and a new direction, and somewhat unorthodox to us older sorts. But if Yoko can use things like this to further John's goal of "imagining peace" then why not?

    It's an important message, and worth spreading.

  2. That's a fair point Ken. But, it just makes me a little uncomfortable because of what is being advertised here. Maybe, as you said, it's because i come from an earlier generation?
    I really can't imagine John Lennon ever advertising cars in this manner. So, i feel his memory & seling power is being exploited a little here.