Pop endorsement

Iggy Pop is the latest is celebrity advertiser, fronting a multi-media campaign for online insurer Swiftcover…

“We feel this new and unique approach reflects our positioning as a young and innovative company” says their marketing director, and seeing ‘the world’s forgotten boy’ larking around on my telly certainly got my attention. Clearly the choice is deliberately unexpected, incongruous and designed to generate PR.

Higher education has used somewhat tamer characters in its advertising, such as Patrick Stewart (Huddersfield) and John Simm (Blackpool & the Fylde). As a Chancellor and an alumnus respectively, these folks had a direct connection with the ‘product’ being promoted. It’s hard to imagine Iggy (famous for antics such as rolling around in broken glass onstage, and credited with inventing the stage dive) sorting out his finances on the internet, and the ad doesn’t depend on us believing that he is an actual customer. He’s there as a signifier of the ‘life’ we can ‘get’ if we save time by using handy online insurance: a life that could be as thrill-packed and wilfully-expressed as that of the shirtless old man bouncing around our TV screens. (Of course, the actual Pop life may not be that of the ‘Real Wild Child’ of his lyrics; he plays golf, and has a piece in an academic journal in his CV – but none of that matters, he embodies his own legend.)

Which leads me to think – are there cultural figures, not actually connected with Universities, who could embody their values

1 thought on “Pop endorsement

  1. Cultural figures unconnected to universities that embody their values are hard to find as they would more than likely need to be university educated in the first place (or some maverick genius) to symbolise the intelligence aspect of what a university is.

    Alumni / other associates aside you would be hard pushed to venture beyond either the stereotype of success, intelligence and money (Stephen Hawking, Carol Vorderman, – both of whome are university alumni anyway) or typical yoof-culture icons (Mr T, Che, etc which wouldn’t necessarily paint the marketing picture desired).

    Taking a leaf out of Gordon Brown’s book (see link), perhaps Optimus Prime is that cultural icon. Intelligent, compassionate, brave, moral and sadly a fictional ideal. Maybe David Tennant’s Dr Who would run him into second place.

    With that in mind, our current chancellor is arguably the best cultural figure for embodying what Edge Hill stands for.

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