Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who's a Superfreak?

This ad launched a couple of months ago, and never fails to make me smile. Visa launched "Music," a feel-good commercial promoting the use of Visa Debit as a secure way to make online purchases. Athletes, businessmen, bikers, prom-goers and cowboys sing a line from Rick James' "Superfreak." The spot ends with a woman using her Visa Debit card to purchase the song online. "Who isn't a little freaky," asks voiceover actor Morgan Freeman. See the ad here, created by TBWA/Chiat/Day:

Rick James, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter, will forever be remembered as the King of Funk. Rick James entered the world as James Ambrose Johnson Jr. on February 1, 1948 in Buffalo, N.Y., the third oldest child in a family of eight. He broke many cultural taboos by flaunting his extravagant lifestyle. As an icon of drug use and eroticism, Rick James went further than anyone had gone before. But before long, his lifestyle started to catch up with him.

"Superfreak" was a 1981 hit single produced and performed by
Rick James for the Motown label. The song was a big hit for James, charting on the pop, R&B and dance charts in the U.S. On the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the song peaked at #16 in the fall of 1981 and spent 10 weeks in the top 40. The term superfreak (and the term freak from which it descended) is slang. Freak and super freak are both references to a woman who enjoys sex, perhaps (but not necessarily) a woman who is promiscuous, is willing to experiment sexually, or is hyper-sexualized. In common use either term can simply refer to a woman. The slang term get freaky (to act sexually) derives from the same root as well.

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