The Big Hurt: Bieber Silences Youth, Kings of Leon Sell Out

The week's best press releases
By DAVID THORPE  |  July 19, 2011

big hurt 722 main

I hadn't originally planned a press-release review for this week, but some PR blasts require immediate attention.


Justin Bieber and PhoneGuard, Inc. Join "Remember Alex Brown Foundation" To Launch a Campaign To Encourage Responsible Texting

This one's right up my alley in the roiling confluence of Bieberwatch and PR stunts. Our boy hero is teaming up with a company called PhoneGuard to preach safe phone habits and memorialize a young lady who died while texting on the road:

"As a 17-year-old driver, I am aware of the countless distractions that we teenagers face on the road, and texting is one that is preventable. There are too many young people, like Alex Brown, whom we've lost because of texting while driving, and it is my hope that, through this partnership with PhoneGuard, we will raise awareness of this issue and create safer conditions for everyone on the road."

But this isn't just another celebrity-endorsed "don't text while driving" campaign. I'm fine with those; I think it's important to educate teens about the dangers of texting on the road, especially since it's inevitably going to kill me. (Not as quickly as it'll kill my friend Sherman. He confessed the other day that he once replied to a text while riding his motorcycle on the freeway. He even had to take his gloves off first.) But this time, it's not just about education. This is much more ominous:

"PhoneGuard's revolutionary Drive Safe™ anti-texting while driving software application suite disables the texting, e-mailing, and keyboard functions of a mobile phone in a vehicle that is in motion."

Clearly, Bieber believes that education has failed, and America's teenagers are so reckless and untrainable that we have to gag them in the name of safety. A better headline: "Bieber silences youth with anti-expression shackles!" I may not agree with the practice of texting while driving, but I'd die for every American's constitutional right to do it. Probably soon.

Oddly, PhoneGuard CEO Scott Frohman seems to imply that Bieber helped design the software: "Justin has played a key role in developing the program and his extraordinary reach will make him instrumental in promoting it," says Frohman. Did Bieber do a little coding on the back end? I e-mailed the people at PhoneGuard asking them to clarify that statement, but they wisely ignored me.


Kodak Gives Away Tickets to Kings of Leon Concerts This Summer on Facebook

Bieber releases are my personal weird fetish, but I think we can all get chubbed up for a classic sellout. If you're one of those bad idiots who still considers Kings of Leon a rock band, let's disabuse you of that shit, stat: they are now a brand, like Nickelback or Bisquick.

It's a hell of a chore even to figure out what this press release is saying, but there's a lot of stuff about a KoL music video sponsored by Kodak; see if you can make a lick of goddamn sense out of this grammar tornado:

"While filming the Kings of Leon hit music video 'Back Down South,' Kodak gifted the '80 fans, who starred in the video and captured exclusive HD videos and photos with new KODAK PLAYSPORT Video Cameras and KODAK EASYSHARE TOUCH Cameras, marking the band's first brand integration into a music video."

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