It seems as if John Lennon has been mainly remembered in ways that endorsed his desire and passion for political activism. However, popular culture proves that this was not always the case, since by definition “popular” is a metaphor for the product and consumption dynamic.  Through popular culture, Lennon has been stripped from thenotions of peace and justice, and political and lyrical activism. Music is closely related to cultural identity, a metaphor for our values and beliefs.  The meaning of music changes as it moves out from its point of origins, into uncharted waters of appropriation, deconstruction and reinvention….

Lennon’s song Revolution originally explored ideas of changing the world, via evolutions, real solutions and changing the constitution and institutions that govern us. This song once inspired a generation to fight for impartiality and justice, but has since been re-contextualized on the basis of identity politics, via its relations with the brand Nike. Today, this song is the anthem of Nike’s Revolution campaign.

“…The direction of the modern ads for Citroen models is completely different than that of the 1980 ad. The first modern ad is simply an excerpt from a John Lennon interview where he acknowledges the past is good for inspiration, but it is better to look to the future and try something new that hasn’t been done before. Then the ad cuts to the word “ANTI-RETRO” and shows computer generated footage of the new car, the DS3. The ad is a little controversial due to the use of a beloved music icon to sell cars and the fact that the voice was dubbed. It still had its desired effect of connecting the Citroen brand with the ideas of innovation, creativity and genius. Citroen’s new strategy is to promote a media identity of a company that is on the cutting edge, looking to the future, full of energy and their target audience is the younger generation. Gone are the ideas of “free love” and romanticism. In both samples of Peugeot commercials, the media identity that is portrayed is that of tradition and reliability.

If you can’t imagine John Lennon wanting to be in a car commercial, you’re not alone. But you’re also out of luck — Lennon not only appears, posthumously of course, in a current commercial for French automobile maker Citroen, but the clip actually connects footage of him talking about creative invention to images of Citroen’s luxury DS3 model. As always, outraged fans blamed Yoko Ono.
Not surprisingly, Lennon’s son, Sean Lennon, defended his mother while  ostensibly respecting his dad.

--- It was this white Rolls that was later used in the Apple Records promotional video, "The Ballad of John and Yoko" (1969). It so happens that three different Rollers were used in Performance: the black one, shown in the film's opening moments; the black Rolls in the garage with a "tasty finish" on which acid is poured, destroying the paint job (actually that Rolls was coated with a clear substance that reacted to the chemicals in the liquid dumped from the jug—that wasn’t real acid poured on the Rolls!); and the white Rolls-Royce belonging to John Lennon used in the last sequence.---

Sean initially defended the move on his Twitter stream, according to the Liverpool Echo:

She did not do it for money. Has to do w hoping to keep dad in public consciousness. No new LPs, so TV ad is exposure to young.

Look, TV ad was not for money. It’s just hard to find new ways to keep dad in the new world. Not many things as effecti

s TV.

Having just seen ad I realize why people are mad. But intention was not financial, was simply wanting to keep him out there in the world.”

He also called one critic a “peasant” and an “asshole.” More recently Sean has begun to deny that he had anything to do with the ads. In a series of Tweets over the last 24 hours he said:

I’m not defending the ad. I’m explaining it. I only saw the ad for the first time few days ago.

Now they say I’m abusing Lennon fans? Because I’m defending my mother from insults over an advert I had NOTHING to do with!?

What way did I exploit dad’s image, do you think I made that ad? I’m a musician not an executive. Stop spreading rumors.

"The car was sold by Sotheby's to Canadian businessman Jim Pattison in 1985 for $2.23m. Lennon had his matt black overall Rolls Royce repainted with 'psychedelic' scrolls and flowers by J.P. Fallon Limited, a coachworks company located in Chertsey, Surrey. He also had the rear seat modified to convert to a double bed, and installed a custom interior/exterior sound system with a 'loud hailer' along with a Sony television and portable refrigerator."


…They also try to pull at the rebellious nature of the youth audience by promoting the philosophy of living free. In the vintage ad from 1980, a young couple driving a Citroen 2CV Charleston drive recklessly through a picturesque beach. Through this ad, Citroen is trying to project an image of youthful romance and exuberance to consumers. The car carves out the words “amour libre” in the sand of the beach. The aim is to have people who view this ad associate the Charleston to the words “free love” and hopefully encourage them to purchase the car.

---“Once a things been done it’s been done, so why all this nostalgia? I mean, for the 60′s and 70′s, you know, looking backwards for inspiration, copying the past. How’s that rock and roll? Do something of your own. Start something new. Live your life now,” says Lennon. “Monroe and Lennon were chosen for their universal, timeless and iconic status. Their images are in tune with the anti-retro personality of Citroën DS3 – glamorous, maverick and individualistic,” noted Ian Hughes, Citroën UK marketing director.---

…The television commercial for Nike’s Revolution campaign promotes exercise, not world peace. It captures average people engaging in sport activities; runners, swimmers, speed walkers, basketball and tennis players, bicycle riders and dancers. Furious and upset footage of athletes loosing their games is broadcasted in congruence with the lyrics “when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out.”  Opposing, the lyrics “it’s gonna be alright” are emphasized with footage of athletes winning their games and cheering in triumph. The notion of Revolution can be understood in the evolution of the Nike shoe design, how the 21st century has made it possible for a shoe to culturally identify an athlete, and the longevity of the Nike brand. However, there is noting politically or justly Revolutionary (Lennonist style) about this commercial, Nike shoes as cultural products, or the message Nike is trying to convey. Among other Lennon songs, Revolution has been de-politicized and used as a branding strategy, hence the notions of commodity fetishism and exchange value, to promote consumerism and sell a product of popular culture. Frith explains how Lennon’s legacy has been “caught between political idealism and commercial reality.”

Dwite McDonald theorizes that in an age of mass industry and production, culture is produced the same way as everything else, and
through processes manufacturing, it inevitably looses all value and meaning. Nike is about marketing, consumerism and profitability,
hence the true meaning behind Lennon’s lyrics are ‘lost in limbo’ in Nike’s RevolutionLennon’s music has been commodified and assimilated into modern mainstream culture, hence stripping away the philosophical and political sensibilities of his songs. Nike’s
involvement with child labor completely contradicts Lennon’s ideologies and beliefs of freedom, justice, liberty, and fair
governmental practices for all humans. Nike, as a brand and lifestyle, inaccurately represents Lennon’s ideologies and music. This indicates a negative trend in using Lennon’s lyrics for hyperconsumerism and incorporation. ( Jacyln Nardone )

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