I'm sure you saw the ads--full page pitches in some of indie rock's most appealing magazines advertising something called Ouch. Cute Ron Rege Jr. figures, free sampler CDs with American Analog Set and White Magic, all of which advertise a website (http://www.ouchthewebsite.com) and a curious mission statement: "Ouch is a program brought to you by the good people who make Tylenol® to showcase those individuals who face pain in order to create something positive."

Tylenol? Pain? American Analog Set? If the idea behind this campaign is to market Tylenol as a hangover cure for hard-living hipsters, then it's dangerously flawed--acetaminophen (Tylenol's active ingredient) damages your already tender-from-boozing liver. But Ouch represents something more devious than death by liver failure--it marks the advertising world's open season on the indie demographic. And this is just the tip of the marketing iceberg.

In the simplest terms, Ouch is the beginning of what is soon to be an onslaught of marketing opportunities with YOU, Mister or Mrs. Hipster, as its target audience. No longer will our lazy subculture of music trendsters fly under the advertising radar. What started with the booming popularity of indie artists as commercial music licensees, now has led to a soundtrack for everything we buy. Beer (Modest Mouse), Cars (Richard Buckner), McGriddles (The Shins), Shoes (Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs)--the list goes on.

Of all these campaigns, none has been as singularly involved as Ouch. The dizzying details of this off-kilter promotion can be found on their website, although it's gone without an update since last fall--proof that someone probably pulled the plug on the marketing crusade. In almost two months of emails and calls, the folks at Tylenol's publicity firm, and their corporate Johnson & Johnson offices, never agreed to an interview. They even went as far as to screen my questions in advance, but still declined. Although it seems less than effective, it will be interesting to see if Ouch will be remembered as the marketing campaign that had the foresight to open the advertising floodgates to our deep-pocket demographic. Or maybe it will just be a write-off for Tylenol that left some indie sampler CDs and cute plastic toys in its wake.