Gaga and Beyonce's epic sandwich spread ad

"Telephone" isn't just a wild music video -- it's one long commercial

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published March 12, 2010 2:50PM (EST)

How do you rack up over 650,000 hits on YouTube in just a few hours for something that's essentially a ten-minute commercial? You'll need girls in prison. Lady Gaga. Beyonce. Mass murder. Oh, and sandwich-making. The music video for the power duet "Telephone" premiered online late Thursday night, and it's both a return to the "music video as entertainment" event and a masterpiece of lurid product placement.

The mini epic, directed by "Paparazzi" helmer Jonas Åkerlund, opens with the Lady getting tossed into the world's most haute couture pokey and stripped down – leading the guards to declare decisively to any doubters still out there, "See? I told you she didn't have a dick." And then Beyonce shows up, and things get really weird.

There's a "Thelma and Louise" by way of "Natural Born Killers" storyline, lesbianism, incredibly catchy dance hooks, buckets of T & A, and some of the most relentless branding you've ever seen. Stop callin' on my VIRGIN MOBILE telephone, bitch! And, for that matter, using Diet Coke cans for curlers and surfing on your HP laptop and taking pictures with your Polaroid, yo! The less than subliminal messages are distracting as hell, but those prison yard opuses don't pay for themselves, I guess. And in the age of DVR, how else are companies supposed to shove their products at us? So my giant, pushbutton festooned hat is off to the genius at Kraft who first saw the possibility of synergy between Lady Gaga and Miracle Whip. Has your mom's favorite sandwich spread ever seemed so alluringly dangerous?  Doubtful. Does it give a sudden craving for tuna salad on Wonder Bread? You tell me.

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

MORE FROM Mary Elizabeth Williams

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Broadsheet Lady Gaga Love And Sex