It’s been doing the rounds that Gibson are making a limited run of 250 Chris Cornell inspired guitars and they’re donating some to raise money for his foundation. At 1st you’d think this sounds OK, almost as if they’re doing something altruistic as a PR stunt, which is fine. Until you hear just how many were donated to raise money for the Chris Cornell foundation. How many? Half, 100? All? At least most of the profits are going to the foundation, right? No. The answer is 2. Yes, you read that right 2.
And it’s the number 2 that rings as being a bit shit (if you’ll pardon my poor quality pun). It may perhaps just be me being a bit jaded, but one can’t help but think they may as well not have bothered donating any. At which point releasing the guitar along with the anniversary of his death feels tacky. It reeks of an idea that started in the marketing department, probably with the best of intentions, probably designed to raise money for charity as a PR stunt, that along the way was strangled by money men to become less of what can we do for some good PR to what’s the least we can get away with for some good PR.
And seeing as the release of these re-issued Chris Cornell ES-335’s was supposed to be in line with the late Soundgarden/Audioslave frontman’s tribute concert it seems a bit off.
Now, it may well be the case that I’m perhaps being a little sensitive here. Cornell was a personal rock hero of mine growing up, probably my biggest one. To the extent I probably took my appreciation a little far, as many of us do with our favorite musician at one point. I can still distinctly remember my ill-advised attempt to copy his facial hair in a wispy teenage fashion. Not to mention my high school bands poorly executed cover tracks on stages in grimy bars. It could also be that after spending a large part of my adult life in the marketing industry that I can perfectly visualize the conversations that led to a measly 2 guitars being donated.
It may be that I’ve missed the memo somewhere at proceeds will be going to the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation. But, unless a massive oversight has been made by Gibson’s PR department that does not appear to be the case. And a profit-based donation would’ve been great, it still would’ve had that whiff of a marketing decision, but that’s fine.
In short, I think this was a major misfire by Gibson, and that I’m not likely to be the only fan that feels this is a cheap, weak PR stunt in an attempt to garner some attention for the beleaguered brand around the man’s death. Not classy Gibson, not classy.
What do you guys think? Does the donation of 2 guitars seem a bit tacky to you? Should they have done more? Or is this OK?