Last night, my husband and I were talking about taking a vacation. We had our minds on getting out of the grotesqueness that is Iowa in February. We were discussing dates and he suggested the last week of February and I asked him why he wanted to wait so long.* He told me that he wants to anticipate the vacation, which immediately made me think of the Heinz Ketchup commercial that features Carly Simon’s “Anticipation” while touting the rich, thick ketchup that was worth the wait.
[youtube uoLoyg3JKRQ Anticipation]
After I thought about that for a while, I wondered how I could have possibly remembered that commercial since I was still a wee babe when it aired. Maybe I was some sort of baby genius. (I suppose it’s not that great of an accomplishment to be the smartest member of a group that doesn’t even go to school.) Anyways, it also made me wonder if this approach would even work today, in our Now! Now! Now! world of instant gratification condiments and Instagramming your whole day. Bragging that it takes a while for your product to get a move on might make the hipsters and tweens want to download a ketchup app that dresses your burger and fries for you with organic ketchup that’s runny and exhausting. These people!
Getting back to Carly Simon, her song kind of made the ad. Without it, it would have just been two miniature hippies gawking at their dinner. This all made me start thinking of other TV commercials that use pop songs to varying degrees of success. I’ve listed some that I found below.
*Also, Kasey’s birthday is the last week of February so we can’t go then anyway. It’s like I’m the first person who’s ever planned a vacation!
[youtube g4wvzS67JwI 1234]
iPod Nano – “1234,” by Feist
This is probably the best example I could find of how to use your song in the most non-sell-out way possible. It could be argued that licensing the song to Apple is still selling out, but the ad is showing the video and using the song in a way that most anyone would be using it – listening to it on their iPod. Not only that, but after the spots started running, the song became a hit. I don’t know why, but I feel like that legitimizes the whole thing. Also, it was on Sesame Street. Bring. It.
[youtube voimLAWkGGk Simply Irresistible]
Pepsi – “Simply Irresistible,” by Robert Palmer
At the time, the women in this commercial were probably considered nearly naked. Nowadays, they looked covered to nunesque proportions. It’s fun that they basically just recreated the video, except for the ladies drink Pepsi from time to time and then Robert Palmer smiles at the end. I wonder who got to toss the cans from off camera so they’d land in the ice perfectly? I bet it was a former child actor. Or, you know, a key grip or something. Did you know that Robert Palmer died? If his middle name started with an “I,” I would say “RIP, RIP.” I fear I’ve said too much.
[youtube PUCENG_xNeI Sweet Dreams]
Martha Stewart’s Apprentice – “Sweet Dreams,” by The Eurythmics
Do you guys remember when this show existed? Anyway, I know it’s not a commercial, but what an unexpected place for Annie Lennox and Co. to show up. I think we can all agree that at a minute long, this is too much to deal with. Martha’s paint swatches are too judgmental to hang around for that long. I can’t even believe that it’s possible to take something that’s successful, remove Donald Trump, then have it not be successful. This must be the only example of anything that’s ever gotten worse without Donald Trump. I hate that I’ve foisted this upon you. Let’s not make eye contact for a while.
[youtube ougCR6zVHJ4 Such Great Heights]
M&M’s – “Such Great Heights,” by Iron and Wine
This is a visually stunning ad and the song is pretty mellow for M&M’s, but the ending is brutal. The happy little M&M is floating around, loving the symmetry and then Sideshow Bob just eats him like that, without a care. It’s a tragedy and one of the top three reasons why I mostly eat only Peanut Butter M&M’s.
[youtube 4zJWA3Vo6TU Party Rock Anthem]
Kia Soul – “Party Rock Anthem,” by LMFAO
I feel like this song is actually better when there are dancing hamsters in front of me. I’m not saying that hamsters have to do everything like I do, but if I were them, I wouldn’t have driven my Kia Soul into the middle of that robot battle. To be fair, I wouldn’t have purchased a Kia Soul in the first place, so I guess there’s no telling what I’d do if I found myself behind the wheel of one. Do you think the hamsters are wearing diapers or if they just like pants/jumpers that make it look like they’re wearing diapers?
[youtube YR5YJ3qzIx4 Taco, Taco, Taco Bell]
Taco Bell – “Taco, Taco, Taco Bell,” by Some Glorious Oddballs
I know this isn’t a pop song, but it was too immensely satisfying to not include. The food! The uniforms! The albino hippy! The older lady/swinger on a date with two young men at the same time! The anchorman who was completely unassociated with the ad! Taco, taco, taco, indeed.
[youtube ORU3rj2j5tA Song for the Lonely]
Weight Watchers – “Song for the Lonely,” by Cher
I feel kind of weird about this, you guys. I feel like, at least for the first half of the ad, they’re associating being overweight with being lonely. According to most Lifetime movies, ladies can be lonely regardless of their weight, as long as their husband isn’t the man they thought he was or their child insists on dating someone they know is trouble. But, I do like me some Cher. I guess this song is a better choice than “If I Could Turn Back Time,” cause there aren’t any sailors in this commercial at all.
Honorable Mentions (aka spots that weren’t on YouTube):
Purell Hand Sanitizer – “U Can’t Touch This,” by MC Hammer
Dr. Pepper – “You Sexy Thing,” by Hot Chocolate
Mylanta – “Welcome Back (Theme from Welcome Back, Kotter),” by John Sebastian
Schick Intuition – “Intuition,” by Jewel
Did I leave anything out? Like you’re going to answer me!