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Be KANYE: Bad Campaign, Fun Ad

Kanye West’s career at this point seems at least partially built on his ability to put on a good show — his music is solid, but it’s the presentation of his life as a brand that has made him a major player in all aspects of pop culture. Wouldn’t you want to be Kanye, living the high life? Well, now, thanks to Be KANYE tablets, you’ve got your chance.

Playing like it was produced by Gabe and Max, this video demonstrates a keen understanding of what works in online video: short, fast-paced, and chock full of goofy charm. It’s also good enough to provide some dead giveaways as to its viral nature: 1-877-BE-KANYE, when called, sends you to bekanyenow.com, which not only offers some useful information about the “product” (“Be KANYE tablets are not tested on animals. That would be weird”) but emphasizes the lack of an E in its spelling of Absolut. Because, of course, it’s actually selling Absolut vodka.

In February, Absolut announced its ‘In An Absolut World’ campaign, which promised to spotlight Kanye (as well as Eddie Izzard, Perez Hilton, Zach Galifianakis and the Live Earth filmmakers) as “Absolut visionaries.” But in the four months since the campaign was launched, it’s hard to tell how many visionaries it’s actually been able to attract — it certainly doesn’t help that the actual web site is a user interface nightmare. The campaign itself feels like a misfire, trying to “engage with the creative community” on a meaningful level while also still hitting the viral video scene. But taken independently of the main concept, Be KANYE is an awful lot of fun.

A countdown on Be KANYE Now ticks down to July 13th — at which point, one presumes, more will be revealed about what it means to be Kanye. Maybe it’s a little creepy that Kanye’s “vision” is a world where everyone who wants to be Kanye can be Kanye — kind of like if John Malkovich had written Being John Malkovich himself. But in the context of promoting a vodka brand, it does make sense. People have been relying on alcohol to feel cooler than they are for millennia — Be KANYE feels like the next logical step.

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