The Power of Parody.
In addition to the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, this past week NYC boasted another event with flying characters: this one sponsored by Target and conducted by magician extraordinaire--or more aptly coined "endurance artist"--David Blaine.
If you don't know of Blaine, he's the eerily cool Houdini of our times having been buried alive, suspended above the River Thaimes for 40 days, submerged for seven days in a lifesize fishbowl in Lincoln Square and so on.
This go 'round he's been placed in a gyroscope for 52 hours above his corporate sponsor where Blaine attempted (and succeeded) to escape from shackles while dangling four stories above Times Square. Besides the promotional value for Target and Blaine, the stunt gives 100 kids a $500 shopping spree.
I did catch Blaine's water act in Lincoln Square this summer but was out of NYC for his gyroscope action this Thanksgiving. Darn. Here's some footage of the action (44 seconds):
But in my searches for a video showing Blaine free himself and plunge to earth I found the BEST Blaine video...which, ironically doesn't include Blaine at all. It's a parody and it's very funny. Right over 4 minutes, it succinctly captures Blaine's hallmarks, namely: freaking out his audience with his trickery and his trademark stare.
That's the thing about parodies, they promote the person they're picking on as much as they poke fun at them: a way of loving and mocking them simultaneously. In a recent piece for Business 2.0, Jeff Hicks, CEO of Crispin, Porter and Bogusky, advises, "The brands that are adopted, blogged about, and parodied the most are the ones that are going to win because they're involved in the evolution of pop culture".
So for those aspiring fame, you might also aspire to be made fun of--pretty powerful marketing, eh? Here is the Blaine parody (psst: for all you younger viewers this does include lots of f-bombs...and "what the eff?!" bombs):