Many musicians have whored-out their talents to support advertisers since the beginning of time. Being a music freak and working professionally in the advertising field…my senses are heightened, Whether it’s personalities in the ads themselves - Chris Brown (boooo) endorsing Double-Mint Gum, Santogold,/Julian Casablanca’s endorsing Converse and MXPX endorsing Pepsi or songs used in place of a “jingle” such as The Postal Service endorsing UPS, Blur endorsing Levis/Nissan or Of Montreal plugging Outback Steakhouse (aka - oh my god if I hear that one more time I’m going to murder…a bloomin’ onion…dammit) . The most notable are typically car commercials as there really isn’t a lot to communicate expect the car driving in an unrealistic setting (outdoorsy or futuristic). There no need for detailed ad copy so attention grabbing music is key for sustainability.
I used to be a complete snob when hearing these songs, crying “sell-out!” I was visibly upset when I heard Modest Mouse in a mini-van commercial back before Johnny joined the band and more recently with Interpol in some cologne ad? Then I reached my 30s and realized that musicians do not make a ton of money (at least not consistently over the long term) unless you’re U2, Coldplay or Madonna. A little extra cash (depending on the campaign you can make a great deal of money….after you split it with the record company and ad firm). Most are done tastefully (Mates of State for Royal Caribbean) but with others you totally want to throw up and burn your records (Weezer cover for Sandals Resorts).
I think I finally let go when I saw the recent ad campaign for Cadillac staring Kate Walsh. She’s all sexy and soft spoken then slams down the pedal in her stilettos while the thundering riff of Hum’s 90s epic trak Stars thunders as the sports car speeds down the highway. There are two ways I could have taken this.
1. "WTF…now some yuppie car company is having that Grey's Anatomy spin-off chick pedal their product using our beloved alt-rock gods Hum? That’s bollocks."
2. "Holy shit…I forgot how f-ing kickass that song is and revolutionary that band was…time to throw all of my Hum albums into a playlist. Thanks advertising! (giving the double thumbs-up to the camera)"
#1 = 22 year old TommyC
#2 = 32 year old TommyC