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


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




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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