It was obvious that there would be confusion surrounding any Bon Iver Grammy win — the band had already inspired a Tumblr, “Who is Bon Iver?” after it was nominated for Best New Artist, and a viral video riffed off of people supposing that the band was a spin-off of Bon Jovi.
But no one predicted the confusion would run quite this deep: Mis-hearing the name of the band (It’s pronounced ‘BONE ee-VER,’ like the French) Twitter users weren’t just searching for ”Who is Bon Iver?” They were searching, “Who is Bonny Bear?”
Bonnie Bear, as it turns out, is the star of an animated kids’ show by BabyFirst TV. Bonnie is a teddy bear dressed in pink overalls, who flies through the air to play her “listening game.” Her friend is — ironically — a gramophone, just like the two Grammy trophies that Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon collected last night.
Naturally, the Who is Bon Iver? Tumblr and blogs like Hipster Runoff capitalized on the error. Commenters took to the Bonnie Bear YouTube videos, writing “Congrats on the Grammy! Well deserved!” under a video of the cartoon bear identifying animal sounds. “As if Nicki lost to this,” wrote another, referring to Nicki Minaj’s Best New Artist loss. Other blogs have taken to photoshopping Vernon’s head onto bear bodies.
Just as there was a Bon-Jovi/Bon Iver mashup when the Internet was confusing the two bands, I predict it won’t be long before we see a viral video of Bon Iver’s whispery voice covering the “Listening Song.” We’ve contacted BabyFirst TV for comment about their unusual publicity, and will update this post when we hear back. Until then, see this year’s “Best New Artist,” below.
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