I’ve now lived long enough to see just about everything that ever meant anything to me, pop-culturally speaking, get hollowed out, recycled, subverted, and/or exploited by cynical beings who make their money by feeding off a generation’s nostalgia, like one of those emotional-parasite energy creatures that occasionally turned up on the old Star Trek series. And yes, I am kinda bitter about the whole deal. You may have noticed.
But every once in awhile, one of these exercises in crass commercialism comes along that is so disarmingly silly, and so affectionate toward the material it’s aping, that even I can’t help but smile at it. Case in point: a new advertisement that perfectly recreates the look of a music video circa 1985, from the film-noir-inspired lighting and shadows to the editing montages, garish fashions, and cheapo compositing effects. Everything about this feels authentic, right down to the occasional VCR tracking glitch. But there’s one important difference between this and an actual vintage MTV clip… in this video, the band is composed of cats.
Such an obvious mashup of the two most enormous forces on the Internet — nostalgia and funny cat videos — could easily have come across as being too calculated and crashed under its own weight. Execution is everything, though, and this piece is, in my humble opinion, pure marketing genius. If I must be sold cat treats using a parody of one of my all-time favorite songs, well, this is the way you do it.
I understand there’s also a 30-second broadcast version, so I imagine we’ll be seeing “The Electric Furs” on our TVs very soon…