So we suppose the ad agency thought: grunge icon + iconic shoe brand – both a bit irrelevant nowadays = exciting brand-generated controversy and lots of sales.
“The head of Dr. Martens shoes apologized yesterday for an ad featuring Courtney Love’s late husband, Kurt Cobain, and other dead rock stars.
“We are really, really, really sorry,” Dr. Martens chief executive David Suddens tells People magazine. “We do think that it is offensive. We made a mistake. My message to Courtney Love is: This is something we shouldn’t have been doing.”
On Wednesday, Love lashed out at the company via her publicist. “Courtney had no idea this was taking place and would never have approved such a use,” her rep told People. “She thinks it’s outrageous that a company is allowed to commercially gain from such a despicable use of her husband’s picture.”
Suddens says the ad appeared in a British publication and was intended for a one-time use, though it got attention when it showed up on Web sites this week. Suddens says it was a mistake to have allowed even limited use of the ad.
“I wasn’t even aware of it,” Suddens says. “I was still unaware until [Wednesday]. When I found out what happened, I fired [the agency].”
The ad agency that created the effort, Saatchi & Saatchi London, released a statement yesterday posted on the Web site The Daily Swarm. “We believe the ads are edgy but not offensive,” executive creative director Kate Stanners says in the statement. “We regret that the controversy has led Dr. Martens to terminate the contract with Saatchi & Saatchi.”
Stanners goes on to claim that the image was released on a US site without authorisation from the agency. However, an official-looking interview that the writer Andrew Petch gave to the Daily Swarm over a week ago would apparently demonstrate that they were keen to get the word out about the campaign. The article was accompanied by all the executions including ones featuring the recently deceased Joe Strummer as well as Joey Ramone and Sid Vicious.
Erm, do they not understand that the Internet is global?