Kanye West

So I’m taking the subway to work, and while crammed in with all the other rush-hour commuters, I see Kanye West staring at me.

No, he’s not slumming it with us schlubs. The rapper’s cocksure visage adorns a new NYC subway-based poster ad campaign for Absolut Vodka called “Be Kanye.”

Intrigued by how the poster mentions nothing about Absolut, but instead promotes a faux pill that promises to turn the drinker into Kanye for four hours, I went online. Low and behold, the meta-ness of the promotion runs far deeper, with an official Be Kanye page on the Absolut website. Not since ABC’s intricate Hanso Foundation web promotions have I plunged down the rabbit hole of such an elaborate fake ad campaign.

The website offers satirical success stories, an extensive FAQ section (Q: Is Be Kanye addictive? A: Stop using Be Kanye immediately if after more than four days you are unable to be fabulous on your own), a Be Kanye quiz (“I am committed to only go home with 10’s. Yes or no?”), and even a bogus scientific name in Latin for the product (Kanyeio Exsisto).

But best of all, Kanye offers up a commercial for his pill that’s basically just a send-up of infomercial clichés. Drab, pastel background colors? Check. Tinny audio? Check. Forced enthusiasm while clearly just reading off a teleprompter? Check! The funniest bit comes from the rapper’s apathetic promo girl who seems to be confusing lethargy for sexiness. Remember on Arrested Development when GOB had the idea to use sexy women to promote his banana stand, and Michael declared that “they’re at least strippers”? First thing I thought of when I saw Kanye’s promo gal.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Does this campaign make you interested in indulging in some Absolut?

Truth in Advertising

  • Book
  • John Kenney
  • Touchstone Pictures