The Madden brothers may have disappeared from sight in the U.S., but Down Under they’ve become as familiar as the boys next door. Though it seems the pair have already overstayed their welcome.
Joel and Benji have made a surprising rise into the celebrity establishment in Australia. And their music has almost nothing to do with it. The tattooed twins are the faces of two high-profile TV campaigns and Joel has a central spot on one of TV’s best-rating programs. Channel surf the Australian commercial networks, and those Maddens are hard to miss.
The brothers are the faces of a recent integrated campaign with telecoms giant Vodafone, in which Joel boasts he’s “moving to Australia.” The ad features the musician going door-to-door, introducing himself to neighbors to warn the housewarming party he’ll host.
In the promotion, which started Jan. 20, Vodafone customers are told they can “party like a rock star,” or more accurately win an invitation to the homewarming party  which we’re told will have a lot of people, it’ll be “a little loud” and Joel will perform.
The Good Charlotte founding members are also the faces of a rather corny campaign for KFC, which in one commercial has the pair introduced to Australia’s summer pastime, cricket.
The “Good Times” KFC campaign has been a hard one to swallow. When the campaign launched last November, rumor swiftly did that the rounds that Joel had been a vegetarian – which he later refuted -- and that members of Good Charlotte had been linked with animal rights group PETA, which has clear-cut issues with the KFC business.
As part of the promotion, the Maddens performed the Easybeats’ classic Australian rock song “Good Times” at a cricket match at ANZ Stadium on January 26, the nation’s Australia Day. The song is available from KFC’s Facebook page.
Madden fatigue has now well and truly set in. This week , the Music Feeds website started a petition to “get the Madden Brothers out of Australia. " The campaign has since received support from AJ Maddah, promoter of the annual Soundwave rock and metal fest, who heckled the brothers via his Twitter account .
A YouTube user comment attached to a KFC clip writes, “God? I'm ashamed to live in this country. Fire whoever in the marketing department thought this was a good idea. This ad is being posted in 'cringe' blogs because it’s so awful.”
On the Mumbrella message board , one user named “James” wrote about the Vodafone campaign, “Please provide the “houseparty” address so I know where to throw the eggs!” Many of the comments were less kind.
Joel Madden has been a regular in Sydney since 2011 when taping began on the network Nine series of the Voice, for which the artist was a coach. “The Voice” was an unexpected smash in its debut 2012 series, returning viewing figures upwards of 3 million for the final – a remarkable figure for a country whose population currently hovers about 22 million. The series will return for a sophomore season later this year.
The pair presented an award at last November's ARIA Awards, and Joel sat for a keynote interview last May for the APRA Song Summit in Sydney. Back in 2009, the brothers supported Blackberry Curve phone launch. More recently, the brothers supported Keith Urban on Australian arena dates.
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