Iggy Pop: 'Marketers have two faces, three mouths and 10 sets of ethics'

At Cannes, the music legend stripped to the waist and held forth on topics from Volkswagen to ad blocking to aging

Iggy Pop told an audience at Cannes Lions that the marketing people he meets at his record companies "all have two faces, three mouths, 10 sets of ethics"

Iggy Pop, the iconic musician, spoke to Grey London’s chairman and CCO, Nils Leonard.

Both went shirtless after a campaign was started to raise money for the charity Ehlers-Danlos Support UK if Leonard interviewed him topless. 

Here are some of the best quotes from the session:

On Kim Kardashian: "She has been good for our media. The unintended side effect of Kim’s career is that there are probably some people who think they have more possibilities of life."

On his life: "I lived like a wild creature from the moment I was released from high school at 18 until I was 25, there was nothing I wouldn’t do. Between 25 and 35 I realized you’ve got to pull back at some points. Don’t lose what’s making you so nuts, but put it in the art, don’t take it home. I would have relapses, but by 35 I had become relatively sensible."

On VW: "Volkswagen had problems because they were naughty — they lied about the emissions. When I was in college ... Kids would see how many they could fit into a VW. Something like that fun would be worth more than 25 corporate mea culpas. You could do it naked on the internet. How many tall people, small people. Or come out with a VW with a sign that says naughty and have women in bondage whipping it. That would elicit sympathy for the car."

On his audience: "In my work, I have a god and that’s the public. The public is my god. I have observed the public god does not like supplicants. They want action, people to sock it to them."

On modern advertising: "I don’t think they need to show the products anymore. Everyone is looking at products online all the time."

On authenticity: "You have to give people love. If there’s nothing in what you are putting out there for which you feel love — if you don’t have something that came out of your gut that was fun, moving or liberating — it’s not going to work in the new world."

On what haunts him: "The toughest thing for me — I probably share this with entertainers, musicians, peripatetics — it must have been really hard to be my parents. They were wonderful parents, did everything they could for me, but I wasn’t as available to those two people as I would have liked to have been. I wasn’t truant, but I wasn’t that available."

On what being old means: "When I think of old I think of a process of giving up and a shrinking of the sphere of life. Those are necessary tactical situations that arise as you live longer and longer. You’ve got more of a history too. I feel better in general now than I did when I was a teenager 15 onwards." 

On marketers: "I meet marketing people at the record companies. They all have two faces, three mouths, ten sets of ethics."

On ad blocking: "As long as people keep pressing their finger and skipping ads it will change — it’s like voting. In the Western democracy, you can’t vote against someone — you have to vote for someone else. But to skip an ad is a negative vote."

This article first appeared on campaignlive.co.uk.

Subscribe today for just $116 a year

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.com , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free