Yesterday David Bowie accomplished the impossible, and proved through death that he is immortal. The world has refused to let him die and his many faces have been scattered across the web, while his name and memory are on everyone’s lips. And while he has been well covered in the media already, we just couldn’t help but write a little something on him. So here’s a few examples of Bowie’s foray into the world of advertising and business, as well his strangely accurate predictions around the future state of music.
Ice Cream Dream (1967)
Watching this ad now, no matter much we squint our eyes and lean forward, Bowie’s face is barely perceivable in this spot for popsicles. But, indeed he is there, singing along and sharing his ‘luv’ of the icy treats. But the weirdest part, is that this spot was directed by Ridley Scott!
Crystal Jun Rock Sake (1980)
He also appeared in this incredibly strange, ethereal and futuristic ad for sake.
In the late 80’s Bowie appeared in this high-energy Pepsi advert where he attempts to create Tina Turner in a lab. It appropriately ends with some very quintessentially 80’s Foot Loose style dance moves from the pair.
XM Satellite Radio (2001)
In this ad Bowie is beamed/launched into a motel ceiling through satellite radio. Wouldn’t that be great.
XM Satellite Radio (2005)
And here he is in another XM Satellite ad, cheekily pinching ‘bling’ from Snoop Dogg.
In an ad for Vittel mineral water, Bowie wanders through his house one morning and bumps into all of his past personas.
In the mid 90’s, Bowie – along with his financial manager Bill Zysblat, and investment banker David Pullman – created ‘Bowie Bonds’, asset-backed securities of the current and future revenues of the 25 albums Bowie recorded before 1990. The bonds were bought by the Prudential Insurance Company of America in 1997 for US$55m. With an average life span of ten years, the bonds performed well, paying an interest rate of 7.9 percent – a higher rate of return than a 10-year Treasury note at the time – however by 2004, the bonds had been lowered from an A3 rating to Baa3, just one notch above junk status.
In a 2002 interview with the New York Times, Bowie accurately predicted that the internet was about to disrupt, if not decimate, the music industry’s then-current model.
“I don’t even know why I would want to be on a label in a few years, because I don’t think it’s going to work by labels and by distribution systems in the same way,” he said. “The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within 10 years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it. I see absolutely no point in pretending that it’s not going to happen. I’m fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing.”
“Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity,” he added. “So it’s like, just take advantage of these last few years because none of this is ever going to happen again. You’d better be prepared for doing a lot of touring because that’s really the only unique situation that’s going to be left. It’s terribly exciting. But on the other hand it doesn’t matter if you think it’s exciting or not; it’s what’s going to happen.”
Bowie’s latest album, Blackstar, was released on Sunday, just two days before his death.
- See Idealog’s obituary for Bowie here.