There has been a lot of talk about Pablo Escobar in the past few hours due to Kanye West’s latest tentative title for his upcoming album, T.L.O.P.: The Life Of Pablo. It’s unknown whether Yeezus is referring to the cocaine god or iconic artist Pablo Picasso, but if the title is referring to the former, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to believe that Netflix series Narcos inspired it. Narcos made a huge splash on the scene, depicting the reign of “El Padrino” like we’ve never seen before. Before its release, the producers of the show got super creative with its promotion, using “contaminated” bank notes to spread the word in France.
The use of so-called contaminated currency is highly fitting for a Narcos promotion. Many people used bills to snort Escobar’s blow off of. That trend extended into the new millennium. In 2009, it was reported that 90% of United States bank notes have traces of cocaine on them. The following year, reports show that every bank note distributed by the United Kingdom was contaminated with coke within weeks of entering circulation. In France, 50% of bills have cocaine on them. Playing on this statistic, award-winning entertainment agency Darewin took everyday bills and made them into “Narcos bills,” meaning they emblazoned “#Narcos” on them with a white powder that reacted to camera flash. Those bills were then distributed throughout France, and residents who received them took pictures of them and posted them online. The campaign ended up going viral, trending in France and beyond to other regions of Europe.
Is the powder on the bills real cocaine? Darewin’s promotional video for the campaign ends with the words, “well if you’re still wondering if this is legal…the jury’s still out on that one.” Check it out below: