The following is a 100% honest-to-goodness email exchange involving my sister-in-law (she’s eleven years old and a noted Justin Bieber fanatic):
From: [sender’s name redacted] To: [sister-in-law’s name redacted] Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 1:58 PM Subject: Bieber Perfume?
Have you seen this?
From: [sister-in-law’s name redacted] To: [sender’s name redacted] Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 8:21 PM Subject: RE: Bieber Perfume?
Dude im buying like 20 of those and poring (sic) them on me when i go to his concert!!!! <3
OK, so as you folks may or may not know (if you’ve ever used Twitter, which I do quite often, you couldn’t have possibly escaped it), fancy-coiffed Canadian teenybopper pop/R&B sensation Justin Bieber recently appeared in a television spot (presented in the email exchange above) serving as the announcement for the forthcoming release of his own line of perfume (ingeniously) named "Someday." And, as you can probably surmise, "Someday" will make a kajillion bucks and leave shopping malls from San Diego to Bangor smelling like, well, whatever "Someday" smells like.1
ANYWAY, while the Bieber perfume spot (thirty seconds of unadulterated unintentional comedy reminiscent of a bad Saturday Night Live fake ad) has fostered a ton of conversation (read: lots of people making fun of it) over the past week, is it really that much worse, on a purely creative level, than the spots for Christina Aguilera’s "By Night,"Britney Spears’ "Curious" or, in all reality, than every other scent spot out there? Or are adults providing the deluge of negative feedback just because it’s Justin Bieber and it’s fashionable to rip on him because of how huge of a teen sensation he is? Whatever the case may be, once you can get over your irrational (above) irritation with him, you can move on to your rational irritation: namely, his likely ability to sell anything and everything to your kids. Be mad at him (and his handlers) for his potential for exploitation, not because of his haircut, cheeseball ads or this catchy tune (which has, at the time of writing, almost 554 MILLION views on YouTube).
So Justin Bieber brand breakfast links? Justin Bieber brand oven mitts? Justin Bieber brand fertilizer? Which of these items wouldn’t sell? That’s right…none of them (sorry for the double negative).2 And how have marketers3 with unsellable products on their shelves or in their warehouses not called this guy yet? I mean, check out this massive installed base of excited, loyal, young consumers you’d have if you just somehow convinced the guy to push your stuff. Who knows, if Justin Bieber had been attached to notable marketing failures like, say, New Coke or the Ford Edsel, the story of those products might have been written a tad differently.
1 And speaking of smells, my sister-in law’s 20-bottle request comes before she even knows what "Someday" even smells like. I’m guessing it doesn't matter if it smells like cinnamon, strawberry, or old Hebrew School teacher (a.k.a. quality and/or personal taste doesn’t come into play here at all), because she's clearly going to force an adult to buy it for her in bulk, or die trying, merely because of the Bieber attachment.
2 These might be stretches, but they help to prove my point.
3 You know, ones who take the ethics/morality out of the whole marketing to minors thing, naturally.