Music that sells is as easy as “1234″

 
 

Let me start out with
an apology. This post will make you watch commercials. Actually, if
I’m going to split hairs, this post really only requires that you
listen to commercials. So, if you’re against our culture’s rampant
consumerism, just click play and turn your head. OK, end of apology.
Though, really, considering all the great music in commercials these
days, I don’t think I have much to be sorry about. In fact,
quite the opposite. I mean, any ad that includes a phenomenal artist
like Feist is an ad that will make me stop channel
surfing.

Each time the ever-present
iPod nano commercial featuring Feist’s video for “1234” comes
on, I feel like dancing. Or, more accurately, I feel like dancing in
a big Technicolor Broadway spectacular. Thanks to Scribe Grrrl, I had discovered the Canadian chanteuse
before the ad hit the airwaves. Since the commercials began airing,
Feist’s album sales have soared. To which I say, bless you Steve Jobs.




Which brings me to some other
ads — I mean, songs — I’ve been enjoying recently. For years now, Madison
Avenue has tapped little-known indie artists for use in national campaigns.
It’s the proverbial win-win for all parties involved. The company
gets cool cred, the artist get exposure and we get to discover cool
new music. Old Navy’s latest spots had me wondering, “Hey, who sings
that sweater song?” Turns out it is New York–based singer songwriter Ingrid Michaelson.
Her song is called “The Way I Am.” And while the commercial is decidedly
heterosexual, the cute ditty could also be given a gay makeover. Seriously,
what guy would willingly wear his girlfriend’s sweater? Totally gay.
Or at least that is how it is playing out in my head.



Almost as irresistibly cute,
and catchy: The Icicles
and their song “La Ti Da” for Target. Now, I love Target anyway.
If I could, I would just live there. For real. And these ads make me
want to pogo into the stores and go shopping with Jack LaLanne. Seriously,
I’ve been humming this song for days now. The Michigan quintet also
gets bonus points for the cute promo shots of themselves dressed as ’70s era flight
attendants.



But my all-time favorite
music in an ad is still Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon” for Volkswagen.
This was the first ad that made me go, “Wow, who is
that singing and how do I buy it?” It also made me want to buy a convertible
and go driving along windy country roads at night. But, sadly, I could
only afford Nick’s CD.



Now, I know some purists will
cry sellout when it comes to commercial use of artists’ work. But in
an industry where it has become increasingly hard for independent musicians
to find footing, unconventional exposure like this could mean the difference
between having a hit single and eating ramen three meals a day. And
as long as the music is good, I’m only too happy to listen. So, do you
have any favorite ad tunes? Post ’em in the comments section below.
Just don’t blame me when they get stuck in your head for the next
two days.

 
 

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