Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Copyright and Wrong
by Gary Fearon, Creative Director
Anyway, moments later on the radio, I heard a commercial for a mattress store using the Beatles song "Help!" as their jingle. John Lennon must be rolling over in his grave, for I doubt that Yoko needed the money so badly that she would let her husband's classic be used to hawk Posturepedics. That sort of thing should be reserved for novelty songs, like the clever use of "Takin' Care of Business" for an office supply chain a while back.
Artfully and respectfully handled, a well-known melody like Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" makes a perfectly good, evocative airline commercial. But in most cases, one can argue that using a famous composition for commercial purposes diminishes its reputation and future sales potential, especially if—as in the case of Lennon/McCartney hits—it still has a shelf life.
This past week Kim Kardashian was said to be suing Old Navy because a girl in their commercial looks like her. Not long ago, J.K. Rowling filed a suit (and won) against an author publishing a Harry Potter encyclopedia. The author turned the idea into a website, which now has Rowling's endorsement.
Mostly I'm hoping we never have to hear "Bridge Over Troubled Water" on a plumbing commercial.
But getting back to happy birthdays, Southern Writers Magazine is celebrating ours, and you get the gift! During July we want you to enjoy every page of our anniversary issue, on us. You can access the online edition immediately at: http://www.southernwritersmagazine.com/july-gift.html
Just be careful not to sing "Happy Birthday".