I hold the lock and you hold the car-key
The summer of 1993 saw the rather unlikely pairing of pop superstar Madonna and French car manufacturer Peugeot. The newly designed sleek, yet affordable Peugeot cars were ready to roll off the production line and into the drive-ways of the United Kingdom’s motorists, and what better way to entice the car-buyers to part with their hard earned cash than to soundtrack the advertising campaign with everyone’s favourite pop star?
Well, actually, that was a bit of an issue. See, summer 1993 saw Madonna at just about her popularity nadir in the UK if the press were to be believed. The ‘Erotica’ / ‘Body Of Evidence’ / ‘Sex’ Book triumvirate of filth had just about overwhelmed the British public at large and, fuelled by the bile of the conservative tabloids, the general goodwill which the faithful Brits had always shown towards our Mads looked perilously close to breaking. Well, at least that’s what the newspapers would have you believe.
In truth, the Page-3 loving British public still loved Madonna for having the metaphorical balls to get out there and do her thing on her own terms and with her own agenda. Sure, ‘Body of Evidence‘ had flopped (we do have some taste!) but the book was an instant sell-out and the album and its accompanying singles had taken up their resident positions in the respective Top Tens.
However, Peugeot, wary of the power of the media, decided to play it safe and soundtracked their 1993 model launch with her 1986 single ‘Open Your Heart‘. Why this particular song was chosen remains open to speculation, but all that talk of locks, keys and ‘keeping up with you’ probably had something to do with it. Warner UK saw this as a great way to sway those who might be believing the media tirade against Madonna, back into remembering just how safe and lovable she could be, as this old classic showed.
Thus, in deciding how to bring the media, if not the fans, back on side, they chose to strike out on their own when compiling the tracklisting for the final single release off the ‘Erotica‘ album – ‘Rain‘, and made no mistake that the public should remember that this so-called ‘hussy’ ((c) The Daily Mail, 1993) was actually that same lovable popstrel of yore.
The Peugeot song got slapped on the B-side of the ‘Rain‘ single in the UK only, the sleeve was re-designed to show a dark-haired serious looking Madonna – not the potentially offensive ‘boobs-in-water’ shot which graced the international release – and the Peugeot ‘Open Your Heart‘ tie-in was given blatantly top billing with stickers featuring clearly on each of the three formats on which the single was released.
The single went on to be a great success, chalking up yet another Top 10 hit for our heroine, with radio in particular enjoying the more airplay friendly sound of the single. Peugeot sales saw a large boost as a result of the Madonna tie-in campaign and Madonna opened her Girlie Show tour in London to mostly positive reviews shortly thereafter.
Sadly, a side-effect of this meant, unlike the rest of the world, the UK never got a release of the excellent Everlast remix of ‘Erotica’ album highlight ‘Waiting‘ – something Mr Last made his feelings clear to Warner UK about, but Peugeot were so pleased with the collaboration that they went on to use the same song again in their 1999 campaign.