My wide-collared jacket and disco shoes came out of retirement last week to celebrate 30 years of Saturday Night Fever. The BBC invited various artists to perform tunes from the film’s legendary soundtrack as part of their Electric Proms season – Robin Gibb himself even made an appearance singing ‘More Than a Woman’.
The likes of Sharleen Spiteri, Gabriella Climi and Sam Sparro took to the stage with their versions of classic Bee Gees tracks from the movie. It was pretty cool although inevitably some of the stars were better than others. It must be tricky performing these kind of covers because the originals are such classics there’s a big risk you’ll be accused of belting out nothing but dodgy karaoke.
(BTW the one I enjoyed the most was Disco Inferno)
I think this idea of ‘making something your own’ works in exactly the same way online. Internet users are beyond the stage of accepting what they’re given as gospel with no alternatives – they’ve got television for that, a linear means of pumping out content which is (for the most part) passively consumed. I worked in TV for a few years and the majority of what we did was based on decisions made in London and then beamed around the world with (in those days) next to no input from the audience. The Internet doesn’t work like that. Instead, users discover content which they may (or may not) consume and which they may (or may not) then repurpose as they see fit. I understand why brands may be nervous about this but at the same time it’s potentially a fantastic opportunity to foster engagement.
So what do the Bee Gees and “mashups” have in common? If I only wanted to listen to the music I’d have put on my Saturday Night Fever soundtrack CD. The Electric Proms show was about seeing how the artists took inspiration from the original to create something new. It’s got me talking/blogging about Saturday Night Fever in a new way and enthusing about the brand.
Surely if you like a brand which subsequently gives you content to play with you’ll do your best to reversion the content (favourably) and tell your friends about it. Now that has to be an opportunity.