18 March 2011 Ideas Music

It’s too easy just to fall apart

This is the new TV commercial for Joe Fresh Style, a clothing company owned by the Loblaws chain of supermarkets. Like the time that I blogged about Canwest, I saw this advertisement and immediately realised that something wasn’t right.

The music for this commercial is the song “You, Me and the Bourgeoisie” by The Submarines. It’s a wonderful song and I’ve tweeted about its inspiring and challenging lyrics. Here’s the chorus and a couple of the verses:

Oh my baby don’t be so distressed
Were done with politesse
It’s time to be so brutally honest about
The way we think long for something fine
When we pine for higher ceilings
And bourgeois happy feelings

And here we are with the pleasures of the first world
It’s laid out before us, who are we to break down?
Everyday we wake up
We choose Love
We choose light
And we try, it’s too easy just to fall apart

Plastic bottles, imported water
Cars we drive wherever we want to
Clothes we buy it’s sweatshop labor
Drugs from corporate enablers
We’re not living the good life
Unless we’re fighting the good fight
You and Me just trying to get it right

In the center of the first world
It’s laid out before us, who are we to break down?
Everyday we wake up
We choose Love
We choose light
And we try, it’s too easy just to fall apart

Love can free us from all excess
From our deepest debts
Cause when our hearts are full we need much less

(full lyrics)

As I said, it’s a beautiful song. It’s an anthemic call to action for our materialistic, consumer-driven society to eschew these “pleasures of the first world” because “when our hearts are full we need much less”.

Needless to say, I’m dismayed that this song is now being piped through our TV sets to endorse a line of budget clothes made in Bangladesh. Loblaws doesn’t mention Joe Fresh Style at all in its corporate social responsibility targets - the company has made great strides with organic and local food, but this line of clothing is the same crap that gets pushed out of South Asian factories to Wal-Mart and Zellers.

With this in mind, the commercial doesn’t even make sense. It’d be like playing John Lennon in a recruiting advertisement for the Armed Forces. I’m a little hurt because when I hear that song, it’s a personal challenge to resist consumerism and live with love. Pairing those lyrics with an ad for Joe Fresh Style makes me think that the band must have lost its moral compass - and that the lyrics are less genuine because of it. Sellouts.

I’m equally disappointed with Loblaws, who thought that just because they throw in a catchy song, people will buy their crap clothes. The advertisement splices the song into an unoffending 15-second clip, whitewashing its true meaning. Corporate greed knows no bounds.

Sam Nabi

Comments

Paula 18 March 2011, 20:29

I get where you’re coming from but…I like Joe Fresh.

And since I don’t remember ever hearing that song before it doesn’t bother me. But I can imagine that if it were a song I knew and really liked then I might feel the same as you.

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