After North Carolina’s passage of H.B. 2 — a controversial bill that prevents transgender people from using their preferred bathroom and bars cities from passing anti-discrimination legislation — musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Maroon 5 canceled concerts in the state. But what many artists saw as protest, one washed-up 90’s boy band saw as an opportunity. No, not to join the boycott, but to boycott the boycott.
That’s right. The better-off-forgotten group One More Wish, recently rebranded as 1MW, has decided to take advantage of all those empty concert venues and is using them as sites for its comeback tour.
If the "HB2our" (yes, really) sounds too crude to be true, that’s because it is. The band and its ridiculous music — which includes lyrical gems such as "Girl, your Rachel hairdo is makin’ me sweat / I’m in your hands like a digital pet" — was created by North Carolina ad agency McKinney as an effort to inspire people to vote against HB2 in the November elections.
According to Group Creative Director and copywriter Will Chambliss, "The idea came from a simple pun. There are boycotts and there are boy bands." So why not combine the two to a boycott boy band that is "willing to look past the politics of HB2 to seek their own fame and fortune"?
Again, if that sounds absurd, then you’re getting the point.
"It points to the absurdity that this bill has left our state in," said Chambliss. "The logic is that there is no logic."
Director Habib Yazdi, a UNC graduate, agrees. "The idea of this band taking advantage of [the situation] is appropriate because it’s emblematic of how the government is taking advantage [of it citizens]."
Yazdi flew from New York, where he works at media production company XY Content, to volunteer his time to direct the weeklong campaign shoot. Various other North Carolina restaurants, businesses, and actors donated their services and talents to the campaign as well.
The result was a twelve-and-a-half minute rock mock-umentary called "Boycott Band: The Return of One More Wish," which chronicles 1MW’s tacky but passionate revival tour.
Although One More Wish won’t actually be playing any shows live, it will be maintaining the charade on its Twitter account — which is currently trolling Maroon 5 for cancelling its show this week.
McKinney also created a website complete with 1MW’s (fictional) tour dates (made up of concerts artists really canceled), bandmate video profiles (Eric, the lead vocalist, describes the band as "pubescent, sensual, and commercial"), song recordings (including 90’s throwback "JNKA Jeans"), downloadable ring tones (no, please, no), and a store that is out of merchandise but urges consumers, "If you have some extra cash, you should check out Turn Out NC and find out how you can help."
"The point of the project was to align with Equality NC and HRC," said Yazdi. "It was a big effort to get people to vote."
Equality NC is referenced often throughout the site and creative materials.
Although this might be McKinney’s kookiest protest against HB2, it isn’t its first.
Right after the bill was passed, McKinney CEO Brad Brinegar penned HRC and Equality NC’s viral letter that urged North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to repeal the law. The call to action was signed by other prominent CEOs including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Apple’s Tim Cook, to name a few.
McKinney also printed out the text of HB2, aka the "bathroom bill," on toilet paper in April, and created a YouTube page called "Things to Love About NC" full of videos that don’t exist because of all the opportunities and jobs that have been taken away because of the bad bill.
For example, just think of all of the money that has been lost after musicians have canceled the North Carolina leg of their tours.
At the end of the day, does McKinney hope that 1MW’s repertoire the future of protest music? Not one bit.
"I hope one more wish lives on as long as HB2 lives on," said Yazdi. "And that’s to say my real hope is that it all dies, because they just don’t need to exist anymore."