As promised, here’s a further exploration of music that has worked well in advertising. In the full selection listed below, the tracks are as varied as the moods they evoke.
You can read Part 1 here.
First up, something from the streets of San Francisco. Here, Fallon London creates a dreamscape through the use of slow-mo and music. ‘Coloured Balls’ for Sony Bravia uses the José González cover of ‘Heartbeats’ – a song written by fellow Swedes, The Knife. It’s worth noting, too, that sales of Jose’s excellent debut album ‘Veneer’ went platinum once he was exposed to this much wider audience.
And what’s not to like about this sassy commercial for Bonds Hipsters? It’s the musical equivalent of a girls-only pillow fight. The ad features a song that’s as stripped down as the models miming it – a lo-fi little number called ‘Standing on the Corner’ by Melbourne indie girl duo, Super Wild Horses.
The track itself is quite intriguing with its mix of influences. You hear the girls yelping into what sounds like a harmonica mic (à la Jack White or Black Keys); then there’s a catchy, three-note, surf guitar riff giving way to the old Bo Diddley beat from ‘Who Do You Love’. Yes, this is intentionally cool stuff – just think: Dick Dale’s ‘Misirlou’ in that Pulp Fiction dance scene.
The next spot was part of a Christmas season series for Gap, where various artists including Sheryl Crow and Robbie Robertson each put their own spin on a song about the spirit of giving. Here, Dwight Yoakam ‘gives a little bit’ of his high-lonesome phrasing as he plays around with Supertramp’s song from 1977. Notice how the delivery is as low key and casual as the leisurewear it’s selling.
Schweppes ‘Burst’ is filmed in ultra slow motion to show us another (unseen) dimension. Using slowly bursting water balloons as a visual metaphor, the ad traverses a similar space to Sony Balls, but rather than ‘colour’, this celebrates ‘carbonation’. And why not? After all, Schweppes invented it. They own bubbles like no other – hence the longstanding Schweppervescence positioning.
The song here is ‘To Build A Home‘ from the Cinematic Orchestra album, ‘Ma Fleur’. It features its co-writer, Canadian vocalist, Patrick Watson; and has been used in many things – among them, episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Criminal Minds.
On hearing these fragile vocals, some have thought this to be an obscure Jeff Buckley track or something sung by Coldplay’s Chris Martin. It seems, even when it’s not Chris Martin, people think it is. His voice – and THAT sound – just seem to be made for advertising. Perhaps it speaks to us on an emotive, personal level. As John Mayer once said, when quizzed on their music:
“Coldplay makes everyone feel like they are the stars of their own movie.”
Maybe that’s why, in recent years, we’ve heard so much (maybe too much) of it as a backdrop, not just to advertising, but for a lot of TV programmes and promos as well. And if it’s not Coldplay, chances are it’s a composer ‘referencing’ Chris Martin’s sound or that of his favourite artist, the Icelandic band, Sigur Rόs.
Is there a particular campaign and/or song YOU’RE curious about and would like us to delve into? Or maybe one of your favourite songs was used in an ad somewhere and you wish it hadn’t been. Let us know.
Here are some links to check out: