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4 Shameless Uses of Dead Celebrities by Marketing Campaigns

One of the great issues to fly under the political radar since the turn of the century has been necromancy. Just a few short decades ago, conducting a dark ritual and signing a blood contract to infuse a rotting corpse with a bitter facsimile of life was frowned upon, if not outright forbidden, in most civilized societies. But these days, you can do the same thing with a computer and normal, not-blood contracts, and no one bats an eye. If you don't believe me, then here's a computerized wax ghost of Audrey Hepburn, and she'd like to sell you a chocolate bar.

Right now, half your brain is sorta impressed at that CGI, while the other half is curled in the fetal position on the floor of your skull, weeping in existential dread. So that first half thinks he's a tough guy, huh? Don't worry. I'll break him.

#4. Kurt Cobain's Goofy Statue

Via Seattle Weekly

Nirvana was a band that was great at making punk rock accessible to a broad audience without ruining the punk part. They also gave really funny interviews.

The Marketing Campaign

With someone like Kurt Cobain, it's super tempting to project closely held punk-rock ideals on him, because he died young and most people get into his music when they're teenagers. But regardless of what he said when he was alive, people grow and change, and maybe he would've been fine with Doc Martens using his image for their campaign in exchange for a castle of money.

Via Adsoftheworld.com
Although it wouldn't have made much sense if he were still alive.

But I feel like I can confidently say that he wouldn't have been OK with this freaky statue they just erected in Cobain's hometown of Aberdeen, Washington, because no one in their right mind ever would be.

Via KOMO News
Or should I say "resurrected." Oh, wait, no -- they already did.

Seriously, what the hell? What am I looking at? Were I the Internet, I would be so overcome with emotion that I would only be able to cry "I can't even!" But lo, I am not the Internet, so instead I shall exclaim, "Dude, that looks like fuckin' Play-Doh Jesus dicking around on an inflatable guitar." And I haven't even gotten to the tear thing yet.

Via Independent.co.uk
Pictured: the tear thing.

To say that I don't like this monument, that I find it crass and insulting, does a disservice to the feelings in my heart. I'm being completely honest when I say that if a young, bright-eyed child -- say, my cousin's kid -- came to me to share his joy at having discovered the sublime ecstasy of creation and then showed me this fucking statue as his symbolic first step on the journey to becoming a true artist, I would have no choice as to what to do next. I would tearfully inform him that he had no future, creatively. That he must burn his unholy abomination, as well as the tools he sullied by fostering it, and then go to college to become an accountant.

The monument is part of a tourist campaign centered on the Aberdeen History Museum, complete with a Kurt Cobain tour that promises to show you all the buildings Cobain drunkenly stumbled by before moving to Olympia and actually doing the stuff he's famous for. By far the saddest part of this whole thing is the mayor's boyishly optimistic hope that Aberdeen will be the next Graceland -- something that's pretty unlikely unless he can figure out how to work a vampire love triangle into this dead guy's biography.

#3. CGI Bruce Lee Wants to Get You Drunk

Johnnie Walker

Bruce Lee is known for doing every cool thing you've ever seen a person do in a movie, but significantly better. He's basically the reason we have kung fu movies as a genre, and he also once punched a guy so hard that he became a cartoon.

Orange Sky Golden Harvest
The '70s were a different time.

The Marketing Campaign

Working Bruce Lee into your marketing campaign is tough, because all his accomplishments were based on inner strength and discipline, which are things advertisements are actively trying to destroy. But that hasn't stopped people from trying -- usually by saying, "Hey, remember Bruce Lee? God, he was rad. Oh, and while you're paying attention to us, please buy our shit." In this ad for Johnnie Walker, a CGI Bruce Lee explains that you can be more than a success -- you can be a game changer, if you drink really overpriced blended scotch.

The problem here is actually pretty straightforward: Lee didn't freaking drink, because binge drinking had driven him away from his family. Also, he's speaking the wrong language. Finally -- and perhaps even worse -- let's not forget that Johnnie Walker is a blended scotch. Blended scotches are lame. Bruce Lee is not.

But the worst part of that ad is the inclusion of the phrase "walk on" at the end. For those who don't know, that's not Johnnie Walker's catchphrase -- that's an excerpt from a key moment in Lee's life. After suffering a debilitating back injury, Lee wrote "walk on" on the back of one of his own business cards to motivate himself to keep working, even though doctors had told him he'd never practice martial arts again. Eventually, he overpowered the laws of medicine with the same muscles he'd already used to punch physics into submission, and later ended up developing his own martial art, Jeet Kune Do. That's ridiculous. And he did it all without touching any goddamn blended scotch. I feel strongly about this.

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J. F. Sargent

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