Corporate marketers discover guerrilla gigs—and another assault on the public is born. From the New York Times:

Something to Rah-Rah-Rah About for Christmas
November 11, 2009

…The Gap campaign — created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Miami and Boulder, Colo., owned by MDC Partners — includes, in addition to the commercials, print advertisements, a presence on Facebook and a four-city tour by a troupe of cheerleaders and drummers who will “appear in unexpected places when you least expect it,” said Ivy Ross, executive vice president of marketing for the Gap brand at Gap in San Francisco. …

“We were very conscious of the environment we’re in,” she added, and the idea was to produce a campaign that was “optimistic and bold,” countering the concept that “some people say you can’t be happy this year because we’re going through a crisis.”

Because “we’re going through hard economic times,” Ms. Ross said, the goal was “to liberate our customers to celebrate the holidays.”

And “instead of holiday carols, cheers are the biggest call to action,” she added.

The fast pace of the commercials, and their choreographed cast members, call to mind successful Gap spots in the 1990s in which khaki-clad dancers performed to musical genres like swing.

“The element that is similar is the high energy,” Ms. Ross said. “It’s saying: ‘Smile a little bit, don’t be burdened by what you think you should be doing. There are no shoulds.’ ” …

The reason Gap will resume running Christmas commercials is that “we really felt we wanted to wait till we had something to talk about,” Ms. Ross said. …

To underscore those messages, one commercial will promote a “buy one, get one” sale on merchandise from Nov. 25 to Nov. 27.

The dancing cheerleaders spell out the retail acronym for such sales, chanting, “B-o-g-o!”

GUERRILLA GIGGING: How the Libertines (and other bands) did it in London in 2003-04-05

Originally published in Arthur No. 28 (Feb 2008):

Five years ago, London’s gig-goers experienced a cultural upheaval the effects of which are still being felt today. Paul Moody takes up the story.

It seems so long ago now. But just under five years ago, London’s nightlife found itself at the center of a seismic cultural explosion that still reverberates around the U.K indie-verse today. As with the psychedelic scene based around the UFO Club in Tottenham Court Road and the punk movement’s Soho HQs The Roxy and The Vortex, it involved a small group of movers’n’shakers taking control of the pop apparatus to create something new, exciting and—whisper it—revolutionary.

For a short while the fat cats of the British music business—a dismal alliance of promoters (tell me, have you ever seen a skinny one?), lazy managers and idea-free labels—were on the back foot, and oh, what pleasure it was to be alive to see it and be involved in it. In its place? A new form of night-time activity, where gigs could take place on a bus, a subway train or even, at one memorable soiree in Regents Park, up a tree, and the old ways—not least the capitalist chicanery of (yawn) advance credit card bookings—could go swing. Continue reading