Courtney Love Nixes Kurt Cobain Shoe Ad
Four dead rock stars - Joe Strummer (The Clash), Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious, and Joey Ramone - were to head up a new advertising campaign for Dr. Martens boots. Famed advertising company Saatchi & Saatchi is understood to be behind the campaign, which sees the music icons wearing their prized boots while dressed as angels.
Dr. Martens spokesman Andrew Petch explained: "We wanted to communicate that Dr. Martens boots are 'made to last' and we discovered that these idolized musicians wore them. Showing them still wearing their Docs in heaven dramatized the boots' durability perfectly. And, as images, they feel very iconic."
But thanks in part to an outraged Courtney Love, the new Doc Martens ad has been given the boot. The 42-year-old entertainer was steamed after learing that a new advertising campaign for the footwear company features late husband Kurt Cobain modeling boots in heaven.
The print ads, promoting the manufactuer's AirWair line and only approved for use in the United Kingdom, portrayed the Nirvana star sitting in a cloudbank, clad all in white except for a pair of black boots. A tag line in corner reads: "Dr. Martens. Forever." Similar ads featured the Sex Pistols' Sid Vicious, the Clash's Joe Strummer, and the Ramones' Joey Ramone. The photos were leaked earlier this month via the music blog thedailyswarm.com.
"Courtney never approved the use of these images [for commercial gain] nor would she ever approve it. She knew nothing about it," Love publicist Alan Nierob tells E! Online.
The rep said British law, unlike American, appears to allow companies to use the images of dead celebrities without explicit permission from their estates. Nierob said that Love was having her lawyers double check, but added that any suggestion she'd take legal action at this point was "premature."
Dr. Martens wasn't willing to push the issue. Facing a PR nightmare and backlash from the same fans the company was trying to court, the shoemaker said it was scuttling the campaign.
"Dr. Martens is very sorry for any offense that has been caused by the publication of images showing dead rock icons wearing Dr. Martens boots," the company said in a statement to E! Online. "Dr. Martens did not commission the work as it runs counter to our current marketing activities based on FREEDM, which is dedicated to nurturing grass roots creativity and supporting emerging talent.
"As a consequence, Dr Martens has terminated its relationship with the responsible agency."
The "responsible agency," London-based Saatchi & Saatchi, defended the work, saying the photographs of Cobain and company were legally purchased from Corbis, one of the world's largest stock photo companies.
“We believe the ads are edgy but not offensive. There has been blog commentary both for and against the ads, but it is our belief that they are respectful of both the musicians and the Dr. Martens brand,” said Kate Stanners, the agency's executive creative director.
Earlier, another campaign mastermind explanied the concept behind the ads to British music site NME.com.
"We wanted to communicate that Dr. Marten boots are 'made to last' and we discovered that these idolized musicians wore them," copywriter Andrew Petch said. "Showing them still wearing their Docs in heaven dramatized the boots' durability perfectly. And, as images, they feel very iconic."
But Nierob says Dr. Martens made the right move.
"They obviously realized they did something wrong," the publicist said. "It was in poor taste."
Aside from Love, many fans took issue with anti-establishment punkers being used to promote shoes, others questioned the veracity of the ads.
"Kurt wore...Converse. Don't know about Doc Martens," Ruby 17 wrote on Love's official Website, moonwashedrose.com. "Even so, they could have at least asked permission. Wondered if they asked permission from Joey Ramone's estate or Sid Vicious estate as well? Does look tacky I agree."
"I can't say I knew Kurt, but to me he doesn't seem like the guy that would wanna be a spokesperson for clothing and shoes. Neither does Sid or Joey," a user named Linn added.
Courtney Love controls Cobain's estate and has been very hands-on when it comes to overseeing her late husband's legacy.
Source: Yahoo Music
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