Odd Music Choices For TV Ads.

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Wingman, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Wingman

    Wingman Bored of the Rings Thread Starter

    There's a new Volkswagen commercial that uses a choral version of Gordon Lightfoot's tragic song about his divorce: "If You Could Read My Mind". What does that have to do with selling cars? Any other odd choices for ad music out there? I'm sure there are some good ones.
  2. Wall Mart using Anita Ward's, "Ring My Bell" (at least the chorus) for their current commercial telling about home delivery options.

    I guess Wall Mart is determined to give a satisfying experience with their home delivery service.

    The first time I saw the commercial, and heard the ad song choice, I laughed out loud and honestly wondered if they knew what they were playing.
  3. SonOfAlerik

    SonOfAlerik Forum Resident

    Westland, MI USA
    You beat me to this
    MikaelaArsenault and Dave Mac like this.
  4. sixtiesstereo

    sixtiesstereo Forum Resident

    Me too. I consider "Ring My Bell", both when it first came out and to this day, the worst
    and most annoying song ever recorded. Why any company would want to use it to promote
    their image is way beyond me...…..
  5. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    A lot of times the meaning of the song isn't really relevant to an ad agencies and their client because they're just going to use a specific section of the song that does relate to the commercial. So it sounds like an odd choice but when you consider the section they used (vocally) against the commercial it can make sense (as far as it can make sense beyond an agency or clients mind goes). The Walmart commercial is a perfect example, Walmart delivers with free 2 day shipping, the delivery company rings your bell, the chorus is "you can ring my bell"! Why didn't anyone think of the connection before!!!! :)
  6. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    You haven't listened to enough music.

    Speaking of which: I always thought it was funny that Microsoft paid $10 million to license "Start Me Up" from the Rolling Stones for their Windows 95 launch... but the commercials never used the part of the song that says, "you make a grown man cry." (And Windows often did that to me.)
  7. SonOfAlerik

    SonOfAlerik Forum Resident

    Westland, MI USA
    Some ad executive that has no idea what it means
  8. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    Never forget that "YMCA" - a song about anonymous gay sex - is happily sung by families of all ages at ballparks across the US!
  9. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident

    New York City
    It puzzles me when I hear a song fragment used and the next line (not played for the commercial) cuts against the idea or mood the advertiser apparently wants to convey. The one that comes to mind this minute (I'm sure there are better examples) is Joe Cocker's Feelin' Alright. The commercial (for what, I don't recall) only used the line "you feelin' alright". Don't most people familiar with the song (presumably the target audience) know the next line is "I'm not feelin' too good myself"? It reminds me of the frequent use of Kennedy's inauguration speech to show how Kennedy purportedly was declaring "the torch" was being passed to the young "1960s" generation, when the next (unused) line is "born in the 20th century". People 60 years old and younger, folks. Not just baby boomers.
  10. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident

    New York City
    Thank you. Exactly the type of strange, partial song use I mentioned above.
  11. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    There is always a resonation to the original material, that naturally offends the dedicated fan of one song or artist or another...particularly as the message in the music applies to the sales pitch and positioning of the product itself.

    Usually the fault of a tone-deaf advertiser who takes one lyric or song hook out of its' original context, and tries the shoe-horn the faulty synchronicity of the original, into the meaningless copy points that also do not resonate with the target customer.

    1) Using a beloved melodic memory in the service of flogging a product never works out, and said advertiser usually just writes it off as, "We paid jillions of dollars to get that song in there, and sales did not go up. Therefore it is the agency's fault."
    2) You can't Krazy-Glue a song lyric or hook onto a sales pitch, without first understanding exactly how the music relates to the emotion you want to convey to your advertising message.
    3) Important rule of advertising: you run ads to put a kernal of an idea into an audience's head, instilling a snippet of available logic, only to let the customer make the mental connection once he is in the market for the product...you do not waste your ego putting an attention-getting ad into the marketplace for the sole purpose of getting your wife's brother to drop by your office just to say, "Hey, I heard your commercial the other day...".
    4) Never assume without any real study of success beforehand, if the audience is going to get the gist of the connection of the music to the product's message, without first asking yourself, with the ad forever sour your relationship with the audience due to a callous appropriation of one of their favorite resonant memories. Even the professionals is the evil and greedy medical industry begin with an oath: "At first, do no harm..."
  12. Canuck department store Eatons used "Miss World" by Hole in an ad about 20 years ago. Sure, they were trying to be all edgy and alternative and whatnot, but it just came off as wickedly ill-considered.
  13. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident

    To promote The Tigger Movie, Disney used Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind.

    It's a song about crystal meth addiction...
    MikaelaArsenault and OldSoul like this.
  14. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident


    MikaelaArsenault and Vidiot like this.
  15. gratussi

    gratussi Feelin' nearly faded as my jeans.

    Philips Electronics used The Beatles "Getting Better" in their commercials for quite a while, primarily using the line, "It's getting better all the time..." But my mind always filled in the next line of the song, "Can't get no worse!" o_O
    MikaelaArsenault, Vidiot and eddiel like this.
  16. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    1) If it never works out someone needs to tell the ad agencies and the clients because they don't appear to be noticing the not working out part as they continued to license music for commercials, most of which would end up being listed in this thread! (You're right about blaming the agency.)
    2) I think they can, because they keep doing it!
    3) There's quite a lot of ego banging around to wasted. That's why they have award season
    4) Cadillac used Zeppelin's "Rock n Roll" if they were worried they brushed those worries aside. I don't think they worry about annoying someone, they just worry about whether or not they think the song works. Most likely because that annoyed people aren't that plentiful and not likely to have any negative impact on the campaign or the sale. Hardly anyone other than hard core, die hard music fans care about their songs favourite songs in commercials these days. I think most of the studying is done by the agency and the clients only anyway. They think it works, they go for it.

    Not necessarily disagreeing with your points, just saying that they don't always worry about them.
  17. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    1) Close, but my many years of close-up observation of the local variety of ad agencies...there is really plenty of blame to be heaped upon the client himself, first lathered-upon by ego-boo from the agency, then "getting involved" with the creative, to the exclusion of the possibility of success...because really, all the agency wants, is to show the client how much better their ads can work, if they just shut up and count the cash receipts.

    2)"Can" and "can't" are, oddly enough, words that can both be used to support the viewpoints of the same claim. (Years of copywriting...and only wisdom such as this to show for it... :rolleyes: ).

    3) "Awards" is merely the means to an end. "Awards"="respect"=signing clients=permission to let the agencies do the eff what they're trying to do with little or no "help" from an ego-stroked client.

    4) Not worrying about annoying someone, is usually the way such decisions end up annoying people. Usually it's the audience-in-general they offend, while concentrating on their target demographic customer. Problem is, once advertising spends too much time talking to only target customers while ignoring the negative effects on the audience-at-large, this causes tune-out. Tune-out causes "TSL" ("time spend listening") to drop, leading to lower costs for ads bought on the same station three months from now. And this is why copywriters and production directors like myself continue to pull our hair out, watching timid salespeople sell-out the very product they represent, so they end up having to work harder to land those ad buys next season, instead of growing a pair and respecting the attention spans of their audience. If your agency doesn't care about the success of the stations they run ads on...may the Sales Manager, Sales Staff and Station Management might consider that the next time they throw deals at ad agencies for the privilege of begging the agencies to ruin their business for them.

    5)And as always...yeah, I agree that people don't always worry about the ethics of the things that cut their own business off at the shorts; has absolutely no bearing on whether they car about my job? How they gonna motivate me to keep taking less from them because they don't care? As if that's some sort of business ethic.
  18. OldSoul

    OldSoul Well, I'm a lonesome schoolboy...

    Oberlin, OH
    One of the first records I ever got was a K-Tel disco comp. I fell in love with "Ring My Bell" and, being my nine-year-old self, was singing it aloud in WalMart (oddly enough) one day when my mom quickly turned and told me to stop. Only years later did I realize what justified that reaction. I really thought it was just about a doorbell and coming inside!
    I also thought "Help Me, Rhonda" was about the singer writing to an advice columm like Dear Abby.
  19. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Musicians are always getting ripped off by record labels and publishers, so I'm always glad when I hear a hit song in a TV commercial, radio commercial, TV show or movie, because I know they finally made some dough. But I do get angry at soundalikes, especially when they sound like crap or when they alter the lyrics to crowbar in a company slogan.

    I once worked on a TV commercial for Tootsie Rolls, and during a break I told the advertising director, "hey, I have a great idea: license the Rolling Stones' "It's Only Rock & Roll" and change the lyrics:

    I know
    it's only Tootsie Rolls
    but I like it, love it, yes I do!

    He laughed for five minutes and said, "we'd blow two years' ad budget even on the slim chance we could get the rights." But it was a funny idea. I like it!
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  20. minerwerks

    minerwerks Forum Resident

    Textbook example: any patriotic appeal which uses "Born in the U.S.A."

    I think it's interesting that the conversation easily turns to advertising executives and their morality and sense of judgement (or lack thereof). In this specific case, I can't point at them. I see it very much as advertising executives and creatives being on exactly the same page as the general public. The average person does not know of (and is not interested in) the intention or context of a song when it was created or first introduced to the world. Over time, familiarity with a song becomes the overriding thought most people have about it.

    And it has surprisingly specific sexual content as well!

    I like to tell people about "Semi-Charmed Life" all the time. I always hope someone will be shocked or surprised. Most people don't even care, they just shrug it off like it doesn't matter (maybe it doesn't). So how would I fault advertisers for having the same connection to a popular song as the average person? You could fault some filmmakers or showrunners for doing the same thing, though I would assume this happens less because their living is (sometimes) based on having a deeper understanding of how people relate to popular culture so they can create surprise rather than revel in familiarity.
  21. glennzo

    glennzo Well-Known Member

    Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" is being used in a commerical for the Nissan's Qashqai vehicle.
  22. sgtmono

    sgtmono Seasoned Member

    And to be fair, one of the great things about music is that it can easily take on multiple meanings beyond that of the original intent. Many songs are like chameleons that can very successfully adapt to a variety of contexts.

    Also if you set aside any lyrical issues, the music itself is always conveying more of an abstract feeling or mood than any super specific idea.
  23. antoniod

    antoniod Forum Resident

    I was excited to hear George Formby's "Happy-Go-Lucky Me" on the Clash of Clans ad, but the ad was produced abroad, so it's not THAT incredible that a UK star not known in the states would figure in the ad.
  24. marcel

    marcel Alea Iacta Est

    3 (mobile telephony company) and Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus"

  25. No Static

    No Static Gain Rider

    Royal Caribbean's use of "Lust for Life" for a period of time. They stopped short of the "...liquor and drugs..." part so someone was paying attention.
    Exit Flagger likes this.

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