Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I Am Elvis

Last month was some sort of Elvis month thing. Not really a big fan, and don’t follow the news on him much, so I assume it was some sort of celebration of his birth, or death, or something or other.

A couple months ago I was in NYC for the Licensing Show, and stopped by the Elvis booth. EPE, or Elvis Presley Enterprises, is the faceless machine that keeps him alive, scooping up gobs of money for the use of his name and likeness. There is no reason to believe EPE won’t be doing the same thing a hundred years from now.

It kind of creeps me out. I was walking around a huge booth with giant images of Elvis, music and video pouring out from various spots around the booth, and bright shiny young people in suits and dresses shaking hands and handing out Elvis Info Packets.

I wonder, do these dead celebrities plan on these things when they are still alive? Do they sit at a conference table with their managers and loved ones and review images, models for miniatures and dolls, napkins, table cloths, plush toys and all sorts of licensed goods to get the stamp of approval while they still breathe?

Does a ‘After Death Marketing Specialist’ layout the 50 year plan…” Mr. Elvis, we are really excited about this part here…approximately 30 years after your death we will launch an exciting new line of apparel including scarves, boots and jumpsuits. Our finance team expects to generate some significant licensing revenue with this campaign and believe it will set up your ‘Death Plus 40 Years” promotion centered around home décor! We hope you LOVE it!”

Or, perhaps, it just isn’t mentioned and the rights to do this in perpetuity after their death are neatly tucked into various legal documents that are signed while watching TV and eating fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.