The hair-gel sin­gle that got the chop

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News - Jim Car­roll on mu­sic

Hair-gel CD tie-in may be sign of things to come

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 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 which 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 track hastily. “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 hav­ing 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?”

Bad hair day for Cameron Diaz

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