With permission from his widow, Yoko Ono, a digital John Lennon stars in a new commercial for One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), a charity attempting to grant Internet access to children in developing countries. The clip features Lennon’s voice seemingly digitally sewn together. “Imagine if every child, no matter where in the world they were, could access a universe of knowledge,” the virtual Lennon says. “They would have a chance to learn, to dream, to achieve anything they want. I tried to do it through my music, but now you can do it in a very different way.”
Multi-colored pixels bombard the screen until they form an image of Lennon, who speaks into the camera: “You can give a child a laptop and more than imagine, you can change the world.” Even 28 years after his death, the ad is still pretty haunting. This isn’t the first time a celebrity has been integrated digitally for commercial means: Fred Astaire danced with a vacuum cleaner during a Super Bowl ad, and Elvis Presley and Muppets mastermind Jim Henson have also posthumously appeared in commercials. OLPC was founded in 2005 by Nicholas Negroponte and hopes to provide children in poor countries with durable, solar-powered laptops that cost a mere $200. The program is one Ono obviously believes in, as she has been very hesitant to lend Lennon’s image to ads in the past.
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