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