03 September 2014

Kmart and BWM bowdlerise a classic hit for TV

With the aim of extending the feel of its "Bom Bom" campaign of 2013, featuring the music track of that name by Sam and the Womp, Kmart Australia has recently launched a new TV ad. Here's how their agency BWM explains it:
BWM Melbourne's new spot for Kmart shows how irresistible value feels, by celebrating and sharing the 'Kmart feeling' that transforms low-price products into a wonderland for the imagination.The spot features track 'The Clapping Song' by Shirley Ellis.
It's a pleasant enough ad, if a bit derivative of the kind of thing Bonds has been doing for a number of years. But something about it has bothered me from the start. Although the agency claims on its YouTube channel that the ad features 'The Clapping Song' by Shirley Ellis, the lyrics have clearly been changed from that familiar classic hit of the 1960s without acknowledgment.

For some unknown reason, it's been bowdlerised. Here's how the Kmart version goes, with the original lyrics in brackets:

Three, six, nine
The goose drank lime (wine)
The monkey chewed tomato (tobacco)
On the streetcar line
The line broke
The monkey got woke (choked)
And they all went together (to heaven)
In a little row boat.

Unnecessary? Over the top? Political correctness gone mad? I can only guess that advertiser and agency are trying to avoid any possibility of complaints to the Advertising Standards Board about inappropriate references to alcohol and tobacco consumption and a fatal public transport accident.

Anyway, please enjoy the original (also covered by The Belle Stars in the 1980s) in all its offensive glory...

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