PAUL STANLEY, OZZY OSBOURNE, BILLY IDOL And JOAN JETT Unite To Fight Back Against Corporate Use Of Term 'Rock Star'

February 6, 2023

Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Paul Stanley, Joan Jett and Gary Clark Jr. appear in a Super Bowl commercial for Workday, a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources.

In the hilarious clip, the musicians admonish Workday and the corporate world at large for co-opting the phrase "rock star," noting it should be used sparingly, and only for those who have rightfully earned it through years of decadent, defiant — and at times wild — behavior.

The campaign, titled "Rock Star," highlights a singularly bold offender: Workday, the technology company defining the future of work through the products it provides. Workday is famous for creating "rock stars" in the workplace, including more than half of the Fortune 500 companies, and a customer community of more than 60 million workers around the world. Workday has brazenly celebrated its finance and HR rock star customers via national press advertisements, social media campaigns, and digital out-of-home advertisements. Following this outrageous display, rock and roll icons felt their melodic voices could no longer remain silent.

Punk rock icon Billy Idol said members of the rock and roll community were disheartened by the flagrant proliferation of the term "rock star" in emails, pings, and meetings.

"We're frustrated that a corporation like Workday is committed to turning normal people into rock stars," Idol said. "We understand that its enterprise cloud applications help customers deliver value fast, but Workday clearly doesn't grasp the knock-on effects of its success on the rock and roll community. Just because anyone can be called a rock star, doesn't mean they deserve the moniker. At the end of the day, Workday's customers shouldn't receive a larger standing ovation than we ever did."

To help raise awareness, Idol, along with Clark Jr., Jett, Osbourne and Stanley starred in a commercial, which will air in front of the largest TV audience in the world during the Big Game on February 12.

Stanley, legendary frontman of hard rock band KISS, opens the new commercial pointing out the ongoing offense and reminding rock fans, "9 to 5? Sure! 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.! I love my office because I share it with 50,000 fans and the only suit I wear has studs all over it. Now 'Who's a rock star?'"

The "Rock Star" commercial reminds viewers what true rock star antics look like, with Clark Jr. demonstrating the commitment required to shred a guitar lick, Jett reminding viewers she's been touring since she was 16, Idol recounting the determination required to trash hotel rooms in 43 countries, and Osbourne recalling the complete lack of business synergy that led him to do his fair share of "bad things."

"Back in the day, we were wreaking havoc in every town, not managing processes through 'real time reporting and analytics,'" said rock icon Osbourne. "In fact, I don't even know what that means. Real rock stars don't 'circle back,' or 'take it offline,' and we sure don't send 'friendly reminders.' Really mate, I'm happy Workday makes your job easier, and I bet your boss even likes you more. I've got to say, the thought of making a boss happy really annoys me…"

For guitarist and songwriter Clark Jr., the offense stings when he reflects on his commitment to rocking audiences all over the world night after night. "I've spent countless hours keeping my skills up to snuff, running licks, ensuring my mind and body are ready to hit the stage to give fans the performance they expect," said Clark Jr. "Staying in rock and roll shape transcends the 40-hour work week—I'm out here until my fingers bleed."

While these rock icons acknowledge that Workday does make people very, very good at their jobs, they implore businesspeople to cease using "rock star" in a corporate context.

"I'd like to acknowledge the distress that the use of the term 'rock star' in the workplace has caused these rock and roll icons," said Pete Schlampp, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of corporate growth, Workday. "Out of a deep and abiding respect for rock and roll, we at Workday pledge to only use the phrase when we mean serious business in celebrating the fantastic work of our customers."

Image courtesy of Workday

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