Tuesday, July 24, 2007
It’s always sad to see your favorite songs from your teen years get whored out to advertise crappy products in commercials. It’s just a weak-assed attempt by ad makers pandering to my generation of now-grownup alternative/new-wave music fans and use our sacred icons to pry the money from our wallets. Couldn’t they just get Barry Manilow to write a shitty jingle, like he did for Dr. Pepper?
These are in contrast to songs that actually became popular after they were in commercials, notably the Mitsubishi commercials that made pop songs out of "Days Go By" by Dirty Vegas and "Breathe" by Telepopmusik. I'd never heard of either song prior to the commercials.
A few years ago I was appalled that Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” was being used in a GAP ad. I thought Mode would never sell out, and then it occurred to me that DM doesn’t own that song; Vince Clarke does. He wrote it and owns it, so it was his right to make money off it. Sad that he used it in such a shitty way, advertising crap clothes on underfed children. In 2004 the song again was used, to sell the Hyundai Accent, though I never saw that ad. Earlier this year, the song was also used in commercials and trailers for the mediocre Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore film “Music and Lyrics”, but the song appears NOWHERE in the movie. It was merely bait. I’m not against my favorite music artists having songs in movies, not at all. But to just be used as bait? That’s sad.
Robert Smith of The Cure allowed “I Dig You” (a track done under the name Cult Hero) to be used by Monster.com, but I seem to have missed that one too, and in order to get support for their Connect The Dots box set, he allowed HP to use “Pictures of You” in an ad about photo editing. I almost choked on my tongue when the Basement Jaxx started selling Pringles tater chips with "Where's Your Head At?"
U2 whored out the song “Vertigo” for the Apple iPod and the U2 special iPod.. Back in the late 90’s, Mazda butchered the classic song by The Nails, “88 Lines about 44 Women”, to sell cars. The Ramones let Nissan, AT&T, and Diet Pepsi use “Blitzkrieg Bop”. Devo was desperate enough to let Swiffer kill “Whip It”. Noted Christian darlings Sixpence None the Richer amusingly let their cover of The La’s song “There She Goes” be used to sell birth control pills. Wendy’s ruined the classic Violent Femmes track “Blister In the Sun” (as well as using Benny Benassi’s thumping club hit “Satisfaction”). Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life is all over the place, most notably selling Caribbean cruises (and Fords in the UK). Also in the UK, Iggy’s song “The Passenger” was used to sell Toyotas and Fiats. Now his song "Punkrocker" is selling Cadillacs, too.
The The sold freakin’ M&M’s with “This Is The Day”, a song that has nothing to do with candy and everything to do with getting your shit together. Cell phones were sold by Goldfrapp's "Ooh La La" and the Psychedelic Furs classic "Pretty In Pink". New Order let “Blue Monday” be used in the UK to sell Mars bars and Sunkist, and recently must have been hard up for cash I guess, because in the span of the last couple weeks they had “Age of Consent” selling AT&T, and when I heard “Bizarre Love Triangle” selling Reese’s peanut butter cups I was almost apoplectic..
And, sadly, the classic “I Melt With You”, the only legitimate hit by Modern English, has been used everywhere, hawking everything from Burger King to the GMC Acadia and T-Mobile (as a cover version by a shitty French band), to Taco Bell Cheesy Beef Melts. The song has been sold as a cover version to dozens of people.
But perhaps the cheesiest and most soul-crushing use of a classic alternative-ish song from my younger days was when Kraft turned EMF’s club anthem “Unbelieveable” into the melting-cheese crapfest that became…get this…I shit you not…CRUMBELIEVABLE. Kill me now, please. I beseech thee.