Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Beck Sings David Bowie, Brought to You by Lincoln, on YouTube

There is a lot of straining these days to come up with ads that pretend they’re not ads, and very often they are lousy or worse.

But here’s a really good one: Lincoln spent a ton of money so that Beck could re-record “Sound + Vision,” a pretty obscure David Bowie track, with a cast of dozens.

If you’re a certain kind of person of a certain age, you’ll still have some cognitive dissonance about the “Loser” dude shilling for a luxury automaker. But you’ll get over it, and you’ll enjoy it (also note: Zero mention of Lincoln and zero branding, period, during the video’s 9 minutes and 22 seconds):

Lots of backstory here, which is where Lincoln would really prefer that you watch the ad (they don’t make it easy to find the YouTube video itself).

Bear in mind that since this isn’t a dude parachuting out of a spaceship, Lincoln is spending piles of money promoting the promotion: I’ve seen ads in the New Yorker and on the Web and on the home page of YouTube. And you’ll see them on TV if you watch the Grammys tonight.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work