Hard Rock Cafe Ad Illustrates Eric Clapton's Descent Into Alcoholism and his Son's Death

Categories: WTF
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Hard Rock Cafe Argentina's new ad campaign called "There's a Story Behind Every Song," including songs by The Beatles, Eric Clapton and Bob Marley. For the most part, it's a beautiful campaign that tells the history behind some of the greatest songs ever in nuanced, delicate drawings without words.

Developed by Y&R Argentina with artwork by Damian Garofalo and Hugo Orita, Bob Marley's and the Beatles' ads are pretty, but not really surprising. Check out the big Beatles version here and Bob Marley's here. Eric Clapton's? That's another story.

It illustrates Clapton's descent into alcoholism and the death of his son...who fell out a window. And yes, there are drawings of Clapton looking out a window. Um, really? You couldn't have illustrated "Layla"? (On second thought that could've been kind of pornographic.)

Click the photo to see the larger image.
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By the way, reader Tre Baker says the Marley one (see it here) isn't that commendable either: "Nothing like the cartoony representation of slavery to promote a chain restaurant franchise."
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The Earplug
The Earplug

It's actually a good ad. Who cares if they got the story wrong?

SurfinUSA
SurfinUSA

Watch for Eric's reaction. This "story" is an incorrect "fable.”  The only reality in the story is that Conor fell from the window and died; and, Eric wrote "Tears in Heaven.” 

Clapton was into recovery from alcohol and drugs before his son's death.  One of the reasons he got clean and sober was due to his sense of obligation to his new-borne son.  Eric gave up the bottle roughly 4 years before Conor's death.

Garofolo and Orita should have done their homework.  Clapton's autobiography (available everywhere on the planet) recounts the true story. They would have discovered Eric never considered going back to alcohol to drown in his grief. For about 9 months after Conor’s death, he simply "picked up the guitar and played,” mainly at his home in Antigua overlooking the scenic Caribbean Sea.

That period spawned “Tears in Heaven”, “The Circus Left Town”, “My Father’s Eyes,” and Lonely Stranger.”  Clapton introduced “Tears” and “Stranger” to the world in his Grammy winning performance on MTV’s Unplugged in 1991.  "Tears in Heaven” rocketed Clapton’s already tremendous fame and career into an even higher dimension.  I sense that Clapton will pressure the Hard Rock Cafe to withdraw the “cartoon.”  Clapton is very precise in his music and there is no reason to believe that he will tolerate this “cartoon” that distorts the truth about his son’s tragic death.

johncorey
johncorey

Yes, I fully agree with SurfinUSA . Hard Rock publishing this ad shows us that HRC doesn't know a bit about Clapton's life. Somebody there ought to do his homework more carefully.

Mackro
Mackro

Yeah, this campaign is a very calculated Chris Ware ripoff. The backgrounds, the sadness, the story disjuncts, and most importantly, the nebulous matrix of panels of varying dimensions... all trademarks of Chris Ware's art.

The question I have is: who at the Hard Rock Cafe -- who's obviously a Chris Ware fan -- thought greenlighting ripoffs of HIM was a good marketing campaign?

If I was shameless, I would instead rip-off Peter Bagge or Daniel Clowes or best yet the Hernandez brothers!

nedraggett
nedraggett

As a ton of us noticed yesterday, to top it all off the artists are Chris Ware wannabes. I actually thought this WAS a Chris Ware parody ad at first and was wondering how the hell he was going to get away with it, and THEN it turned out it was real!

Lille Bose
Lille Bose

True! I thought it was him too, but then I was like, if it's art can it be ripped off technically?

nedraggett
nedraggett

Ware's his own fusion of styles and approaches, he'll be the first to admit it.  But you'd hope these two would be a little less blatant!

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