If we not otherwise told fairy tales around the knee of our mother or taking part in a local village festival, homegrown culture is a rich, organic thing.
However, things really took off with the advent of modern advertising. The creation of brands and logos—and mascots—that all told a back-story or legend about a product.
Say, you see “The Quaker Oats Man” made popular by the illustration you know what that immediately connotes—or even if you see Ronald McDonald everyone knows that stands for “a good time, great taste” AT MCDONALD’S.
Like “the pure essence” of an idea—how just a symbol conjures up a vast world of associations. This stuff borders on “casting magic spells”,
if you think about it. Dr. Pepper is “weaker” compared to the full-borne majesty of Coca-Cola as power comes in billboards and sponsorships.
A franchise is not just a product—but a monopoly on AN IDEA where people ward off each other with word-games and idea-projections like summoning the very spirit of an idea and impressing each other. Much of this involves the subconscious or deep brain-structures many are barely aware of—as you might as well be casting demons inside a mental soul-space of extreme projection.
It all lives up in our heads—and some take it a step further.
You have Lydia Deetz, who I envision as “a witch in her own right” with a fascination for design and imagery. Or changing the world—one copy-machine at a time. She’s a little trickster adept at word-games and inverting the order of pictures to tell a larger, subversive story. Some people blindly follow and may never pick-up the difference while her young brain hyper-fires on all cylinders like Harry Houdini willing his way out of “a question-box”.
Punk culture exists to be obnoxious and explore the possibilities of working inside your bleak, ordinary environment. It’s why people put out their own “homebrew” fanzines and web-logs, mostly to keep themselves entertained.
For it’s “Lydia’s Trunk of the Strange & Unusual” like the most sordid, uncanny collection of relics and old throw-aways as she casts back a hand to her forehead, there in her shapeless rags and presumes to amuse, enlighten—if not entertain in the pale blue moonlight of her gothic affliction and tribe of motley friends.
Television and advertising becomes the shared culture, like old Saturday morning t.v. recorded on video-tape. Such a silly-string explosion of disposable whimsy as it beomes an item of midnight cult-recital to sing these jingles and repeat those catch-phrases.
For what is life but shared appreciation? FOR TELEVISION-HELL.
And how all those ideas and brands and mascots exist in their own “spirit-world”. You wonder about the netherworld of ghosts and restless, departed spirits maybe only one cemetery over in the bone-yard of ideas. Ready to spring loose—as Beetlejuice will hit the biggest vein of product-placement paydirt ever.
As they say—it’s hard to be original—and what are ideas but standing on the shoulders of giants and stamped with a copyright symbol? Lydia asks about “fair use” in collage and montage as there’s a whole argument around “copyrights” and “copywrongs”.
But if you write-it-in, in a flattering way—maybe you can get some kick-back’s from some branded sponsors. Slyly, the whole movie would be a running commercial poking fun at itself in a clever way like a long-form joke. . . . . better than the bare 30 seconds most commercials last to establish a premise, a problem, AND A SOLUTION.
So yes, creativity and commerce can mix. I wouldn’t even call it “A SELL-OUT” except we sold out of movie tickets for an audience paying to laugh at itself and the commercials it watches—all while selling a story and advancing BEETLEJUICE.
Very “Meta” or even “metaphysical” but we’ll take it.