Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Ego Has Branded: Jon Bon Jovi's Philanthropic Awareness Campaign

Surviving your teenage years is hard enough. But if you grew up in the late 80s, your teenage years were really hard, because you were forced to listen to Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer" every day of your life.

I'm an adult now, ostensibly, and my teenage years are long behind me. And yet Jon Bon Jovi still makes my life miserable. I turn on my TV and I see him, not singing his songs, but singing his own praises in a commercial:

Pain doesn’t have much of a place in my life. I checked the schedule and it’s not on it. You never know when Advil’s needed. Well, most people only know one side of my life. They see me on stage and they think that that is who I am. There’s many layers to... everybody, everywhere. Singer-songwriter, philanthropist, father—life’s a juggling act. When I have to get through the pain, I know where to go.

Yes, life is a juggling act. Here he's juggling the tasks of reminding people of how successful and rich he is while also proclaiming himself to be a benevolent, regular guy.

And with only a 30 second commercial to accomplish all that—he really is too busy for pain. (But evidently not too busy for shameless self-promotion.) The previously unknown side of Jon Bon Jovi, it turns out, is comprised chiefly of philanthropy, which is something that other wealthy people with only average-sized egos don’t feel the need to publicize, in person, on television.

Though I must admit, I'm impressed that on top of all the other stuff Bon Jovi is also a father. This guy doesn’t need Advil, he needs a medal!

JBJ has already received a fair amount of publicity for his charitable works, including top ranking in a celebrity-charity survey detailed in this Forbes article. (Mind you, the ranking has nothing to do with raising or donating actual money—instead the survey's authors have used a complicated ubiquity-conversion algorithm to place a hypothetical dollar value on each star's popularity, and then ranked the celebrities according to the percentages of their popularity "spent" on publicizing their charitable causes.) And yet getting press is not enough for Mr. Jovi; he still feels the need to act as his own spokesperson to spread awareness of his do-gooder-ness.

While I can't claim to endure the hardship of being a philanthropist, there are pains in my life. Unfortunately ibuprofen can’t solve all of them. For one thing, it doesn’t make Jon Bon Jovi go away. Turning off my TV might be a cure for that, but that's not really an option—American Ninja Warrior isn’t going to watch itself.

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