Avril Lavigne and Her Unsung Marketing Skills
We open on a side street littered with empty spray paint cans. A lone ruffian in aviator sunglasses rappels from a building and quickly makes an escape via the trick bike waiting for him. The camera pans up to reveal his message painted, shockingly, sans stencil: “7th and Spring NOON”. The drums kick in. It’s time for the poseurs to settle in and let Avril Lavigne tell us a little story.
“He was a boy, she was a girl
Can I make it any more obvious?”
The answer of course is no. Lavigne is succinct in her words, signaling a tale as old as time itself. Dido and Aeneas, Elizabeth and Darcy, Sam and Diane!
“He was a punk, she did ballet
What more can I say?”
Nothing. Lavigne is a master of her craft, at the top of her game. We totally get it. I know I did. Thirteen years old, wearing my midriff-baring tee from Aeropostale – the one advertising a made-up concert and a made-up band in a glitter retro font. Psh, those worlds won’t be colliding anytime soon I can tell you, I muttered sagely into my Waffle Crisp, toggling between MTV and VH1 until it was time to hop on the school bus.
While Lavigne unfolds the story of their star-crossed love, we’re shown a montage of marketing. “7th and Spring NOON” appears in graffiti, email blasts, posters, on coffee cups (the barista is in on it!) and flyers thrown willy-nilly in an arcade. Boy, these folks care nothing for the establishment but they are sure on their game when it comes to outreach. Avril and the boys pack up their amps and throw themselves into the back of a beater car to get to their guerilla concert at (you guessed it!) 7th and Spring.
I won’t bore you by parsing the lyrics of the entire song (it is now enshrined in the pantheon of love stories, alongside the samples listed above) but we eventually come to understand that while the foolhardy ballerina snubbed the now-successful Sk8er Boi’s overtures, Lavigne herself is now WITH THE SK8ER BOI?!?!?! She’s a character in this story?! Once again, masterful. She sings, atop the hood of a car at 7th and Spring, to a legion of fans who paid literally nothing for this event:
“Sorry, girl, but you missed out
Well, tough, luck that boy’s mine now
We are more than just good friends
This is how the story ends
Too bad that you couldn’t see
See the man that boy could be
There is more than meets the eye
I see the soul that is inside”
Obviously, Avril Lavigne is an incisive judge of character, better than you or me or that teenaged ballerina, and I’m happy for her in her newfound relationship. But is it punching down to write an entire chart-topping hit rubbing that girl’s face in her mistakes, with an entire bridge delivered directly to her? Bonus question: Are we meant to infer that the blonde that gets brutally trampled in the crowd is Sk8er Boi’s misguided first love? If so, it seems the safest course of action is to snog anyone with the slightest amount of potential. Just in case they later rise to the office of touring musician. And lest we, you know, get brutally trampled.
Emily Draffen is a Midwesterner living in the South. She has written three plays and loves gin martinis.