8 pathetic ways David Bowie’s death is being used to flog products

By Kitty Knowles 11 January 2016
David Bowie. Pic: Twitter/@Natalie_KateM.

No advertising gurus, don't use a lyric as a sell. Don't use a death to push a product on social media.

This morning millions of music lovers woke up to the news that rock legend David Bowie had died.

The singer and musician passed away peacefully, aged 69, after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Fans took to social media to share their grief – and their gratitude for the inspiration Bowie had given them.

Today, ‘David Bowie’ became the top trending term on Twitter.

Jumping on the Bowie bandwagon

But not every Tweet, Facebook update, or blog post has been sincere.

A number of marketers and advertising agents became David Bowie fans overnight, jumping on new of his death to sell products and make profit.

To put it bluntly this is Just. Not. Cool.

Celebrity or not, a human is a human and, when someone dies, they deserve better than to inadvertently become a posterboy for some lame product.

Here are 10 of the worst offenders we spotted on social media…

Office thought they’d use Bowie’s passing to tout shoes


No Office, quoting an incredible David Bowie lyric dos not give you licence to flog a few more high heels.

You didn’t see Burberry singing along to ‘Sell Me a Coat’ on their Twitter feed did you?

Bowie’s image was shamelessly hijacked by job scouts


Recruiter: Why did you try to use David Bowie’s death to tout an SEO Accountant Manager job????

Neither Bowie nor his cat would be impressed.

Apple’s Philip Schiller told mourners to shop on iTunes, obviously



The Vice President kept his tribute brief, but as he bid farewell to Bowie’s alterego Ziggy Stardust, you can bet sure he also said hello to an influx of online music sales.

There were David Bowie food promos


Sorry RiseNRaleigh. Your doughnuts aren’t the only things around here that are totally see-through.

We all know you’d be making sweet treats anyway. Throwing round a sprinkle-shaker just to jump on the #DavidBowie is a pretty shallow move.

Cafés got in on the act too


To Manchester’s Trof Northern Quarter restaurant, your chalk art may be a meaningful tribute, but turning it into a social media ad is most definitely not.

No amount of Cajun spice is worth depreciating Bowie’s incredible exotic wonderment.

One Bordeaux vinyard tried to schmooze fans with booze


I didn’t think there was anything that could put me off indulging in a glorious glass of wine.

It happened.

Another venue charged £8 for a ‘Starman’ cocktail


“A tribute to a legend”, they called it. More like: “More cash in the till”.

Even libraries sullied their good name


Anything that gets more people into their local library, hasn’t it? Almost anything.

Perhaps using a pop star’s death is a step too far? We think so.

Read more: 7 brands that have shamelessly jumped on a tube strike gimmick