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1/28/2005

The other day I was in Aquarius Records buying the Ditty Bops CD (read my review on Stylus here). While I was chatting with the friendly chap behind the counter, I noticed a box of CDs that said FREE - TAKE ONE. I picked one up and saw that it was a split release with White Magic and American Analog Set called Songs of Hurt and Healing, in a gatefold cardboard sleeve with nice artwork. Pretty good score for a free CD.

When I turned it over, I noticed something curious -- a small red Tylenol logo. "Brought to you by Tylenol?" I wondered aloud, to which the clerk replied, "Oh, I think that's a joke." I shrugged my shoulders and dropped the free CD in my purse and went on my merry way.



Back at home behind my computer, I took the CD out again to study it. There was a URL in the liner notes: OuchTheWebsite.com. So I went there. Sponsored by Tylenol indeed!

So it's no joke. Some mutinous and/or delusional marketing honcho at Tylenol has decided to market to the indie rock counterculture skateboarding shoegazer set. On the content-rich site, you can click on "Ouch Zines," "Ouch Events," and "Team Ouch" which features a photo of skater Tony Trujillo. Here's the explanation of the tenuous connection between a mass-marketed pain reliever and marginalized artists:
Life hurts and anyone who tells you differently probably hurts the most. Whether you like it or not, pain’s a part of life. But pain isn’t always a negative thing, and for some, it’s actually something worth celebrating. To do anything meaningful, you're going to have to deal with pain, whether it's physical or emotional or somewhere in between. It's just part of the process.

Ouch is a program brought to you by the good people who make Tylenol® to showcase those individuals who face pain in order to create something positive. These amazing people brave the cuts, scrapes, bangs, bruises, headaches and heartaches to do something innovative pursuing the things they love.

But we don’t just showcase the talent, we get them to do the work too. To get an inside look into the pain of living, we’re letting the stories come directly from an inspirational collection of artists, writers, illustrators, musicians and photographers who bring their own piece of artistic vision to this project.

This concept is so preposterous it's brilliant. I'm all for underground artists benefitting from corporate cash and exposure -- the cash cow conglomerates should be taken advantage of whenever possible. But I just can't imagine a legion of hipsters adopting Tylenol as their painkiller of choice because they suddenly feel Tylenol's down, understands them, speaks their language.

I highly recommend visiting OuchTheWebsite for comic relief. Hurry before funding for this ill-conceived marketing ploy is inevitably yanked and the yahoo responsible for it is unceremoniously canned.

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