Tag Archives: Advertising

GoldieBlox Sues Beastie Boys [Repost]

Repost of an article written by David Newhoff for his blog The Illusion of More (a well written and highly recommended read)

GoldieBlox Sues Beastie Boys (via www.illusionofmore.com)

This is a brilliant video.  I’d seen it make the rounds on Facebook but didn’t know that it was at the heart of a new controversy regarding copyrights and fair use.  A promo for the innovative toy-making startup GoldieBlox, the video traces the…

eTrade Poolside licenses William Tell Overture from UniqueTracks Inc.

eTrade‘s latest commercial – Poolside – uses the William Tell Overture recording from our classical music library as soundtrack.

Here’s a look/listen…

eTrade’s Poolside commercial uses the UniqueTracks recording of the William Tell Overture as soundtrack.

e-media promo shoot for Bedslide yields great results

Eric Wyatt and the video production creatives at e-media, in Ft. Myers Florida, recently produced a promo spot for Bedslide which featured some tracks from the UniqueTracks Production Music Library.

Bedslide makes a unique sliding ultility for loading and unloading trucks. Basically, it turns your truck bed into a sliding drawer.

Eric told me recently

The marketing department [at Bedslide] wanted
to use something with a hard rock sound for music.
Thankfully we had your Speed Demons CD.

Here is the spot, shot for under $3000. Neat product.

New Stock Music for Advertising – Take it to the MAX

Royalty Free Music Library, UniqueTracks Inc., has just released a new album of production music soundtracks designed for advertising, TV commercials, marketing films, corporate film, new product releases, podcasting and PowerPoint presentations. This set will grab your target audience with its blend of contemporary music styles.

MAX Producer album collection from UniqueTracks royalty free music.
Listen to Retro Groove & Disco

MAX Producer is a collection of rock, dance, funk, and easy-listening tracks created especially for use in advertising and promotional spots. The writing is contemporary and hits the right note for marketing films, corporate video, Powerpoint presentations, ads and other promotional productions. The songs are presented in full-length versions plus many edits including 60, 30, 15 second ad mixes.

The songs are good-natured and blend well with imagery. If you are creating upbeat and positive marketing messages and need that feeling underscored, then you’ll certainly find this collection appealing. The writing is engaging and the multiple music styles in the collection will find many uses in your production work.

Check it out, this is a delightful set.

Quirky New TV Jingles Aimed at Young Women

I’m a big fan of the commercial jingle as a method of advertising. I think jingles sell better than their much over-used alternative – the licensed hit song. Jingles are written directly for the ad and, to me, tend to create better campaigns.

Sidebar: Example of licensed hit song in advertising – This morning I heard Chrissie Hynde’s I’m Special in an ad for the new Blackberry tablet. I written about why I don’t like hit songs in advertising here.

Jingles from years past were slickly produced by top-notch studio musicians and professional jingle (commercial) writers. New York City was the capital of jingle production and for decades there was a lively industry (recording studios, the music union, writers, performers) devoted to turning out jingle recordings. That industry is almost completely gone now.

What’s replaced it is the solo singer-songwriter. Not a famous voice, but a young, completely off-the-map performer with a very individual sound. These commercials have a quirky, low-fi, indie, DIY feel. Some very smart ad executives have discovered that this type of soundtrack really sells.

There’s recently been a slew of commercials employing this approach. For instance, listen to this commercial for Truvia.

Here are the lyrics

I loved you sweetness, but you’re not sweet you made my butt fat
You drove me insane, self-control down the drain
We’re over, I’m so done with that
I found a new love, a natural, true love, that comes from a little green leaf
Zero calorie, guilt free no artificiality, my skinny jeans zipped in relief
Its name is Truvia, I had no idea, no more sprinkling my coffee with grief.

Now the singing of this commercial is pretty, let’s say… idiosyncratic. Some would say, amateur, off-key, or just bad. But I think, if the commercial works, and it does to me, that the performance of the song adds a huge dimension to the spot. It’s actually the melody (if there is one) and the phrasing of the lyrics that makes this so quirky. The singing is not really in sync with the guitar playing. It’s more like she’s talking or it’s stream-of-consciousness not really in rhythm.

The target audience for this commercial is younger women. It’s got a light, fun, innocent mood to it. It comes off as honest. There’s a playful sense of humor. That’s appealing. Capturing honesty in a TV ad is a hard thing to do.

Here’s another ad, this time from Bisquick.

We see a young mother preparing pancakes for her two children. The lyrics reflect the thoughts of the children.

There’s one thing I’ll eat, any time of day
Dawn till sunset, I’ll never walk away
Blueberry pancakes, so good

The jingle creates a happy, laid-back, Saturday-morning vibe.

Here’s a recent campaign for the Subaru Outback.

I’ve been looking and looking my whole life through
Trying to find my way back to you
Cause I love you, I do
Cause I love you, I do

In this ad, the husband loses the car and basically creates a situation where the couple is stuck in the desert. He’s meandering around with his keys. And in the background the woman is singing “I love you I do” but in an ironic, semi-tolerant way. (she rolls her eyes, I get this look all the time)

This is marketing directly to women. I like the ads but I’m not the target of these products. The Subaru Outback ad is targeting young couples slanting the ad towards the mom or wife. Subaru is really big on this style. Here’s another ad from a Subaru campaign that is running now.

This time they are using a licensed song “Here comes the sun again” by M. Ward. But it’s similar with a low-fi production DIY vibe.

The appeal of these jingles is their innocence and honesty. Having a solo singer, with only guitar, singing in an individual style is what gives these spots their charm. It’s the exact opposite of what jingle advertising used to be and it comes off as fresh and youthful.

Who knew that artists, most of whom could tour in the Lilith Fair, would become the next big thing in commercial jingle writing.

It’s hard for an ad or a corporation to capture innocence. One way to do that is to use original music from an unknown source. There is an anonymity to these jingles. We don’t recognize the voices, the production is minimal, some even sound tossed-off with no real effort. This low-fi approach adds to the overall effectiveness of the ads. (It reminds me of films like Juno which came out of nowhere with unknown stars with a fresh new take on storytelling)

About the performers/writers

The Bisquik jingle is written and performed by Frances England She’s actually a kids music performer.

The Subaru Outback ad is by Miss Erika Davies

I couldn’t find the singer for this Truvia jingle. (what is listed on YouTube is for an earlier commercial, not the one cited in this post).

If you have any comments or thoughts about this advertising trend, please post them as comments. How about this. How do you feel about ads that create a mood of innocence and honesty to sell? The purpose of any ad is to influence (some might say manipulate) behavior. These ads do that while pretending to be rather casual, even improvised. The tone masks the intention (or not?). What do your think?


If you’re interested in licensing some quirky music tracks for your advertising or other productions, UniqueTracks has some titles to check out.

Listen to:

  • Meditating
  • Mediterranean
  • Wishful
  • BossaNova
    part of the Bossa Nova album collection.

    And these are instrumental tracks.

  • Shag Party
  • Happy Hour
  • martini sessions
    from our Martini Sessions collection


    Imported from Detroit – Chrysler 200 Super Bowl commercial

    I thought the hands-down best commercial during this year’s Super Bowl was the 2-minute ad for the Chrysler 200 featuring Eminem. Brilliantly written and produced with a pitch-perfect narration by voice-over artist and Michigan resident Kevin Yon, the commercial shows downtown Detroit in all its glory as Eminem slowly drives the new Chyrsler 200 through the Motor City.

    The soundtrack begins with ominous low electronic rumblings and sound effects. Then, at about the 40 second mark, the instantly recognizable guitar-riff from Enimen’s song "Lose Yourself" (from the 8 Mile album) is layered on top. Finally, the addition of a gospel choir at the commercial’s high-point adds a sense of triumph to mix. It’s a brilliantly constructed soundtrack.

    Camera shots create a poetic montage inter-cutting Detroit’s gritty industrial landscape, with American flags, modern factories, boarded up buildings and Diego Rivera’s mural of factory laborers (from the Detroit Institue of the Arts). Shots of snow falling on downtown buildings add to the creation of a tough, resolute image. We end up at Detroit’s historic Fox Theatre. The marquis out front reads “Keep Detroit Beautiful” Inside, Enimen takes the stage in front of the gospel choir and confidently utters these words, “This is the Motor City and this is what we do”.

    All of the elements; the voice-over performance, the text, the soundtrack, the camera work, Eminem’s passion, work toward a climatic celebration of Detroit. It gave me chills the first time I saw it.

    Known as the Motor City, Detroit was built on manufacturing and as manufacturing has left the US economy, outsourced to other nations with cheaper labor costs, Detroit, like a lot of smaller manufacturing towns, has suffered. Suffered greatly. Must the American economy be so bereft of manufacturing? Are we right to just cede this important segment to emerging nations with cheaper labor costs?

    The "Imported from Detroit" ad reminded me of a video produced last year by filmmaker Scott Smith. Scott’s company, River Run Productions, created a film for the trade organization Opportunity2 called Advanced Manufacturing in Southern Iowa. Scott used UniqueTracks’ music as underscore for this 9 minute industrial film.

    The film shows one way manufacturing can exist in the American economy. Actually the advanced manufacturing, using robotics, laser optics and other high-end technologies shown in this film, are probably best done in America. The idea of factory work being associated with dimly lit, dirty, over-crowded spaces is not the reality in these high-tech manufacturing plants.

    Scott adds, "Iowa is known for its farming, but in Southeast Iowa, where we shot the video, 30% of the jobs are in advanced manufacturing. I didn’t even really know what advanced manufacturing was before I produced this video. I learned that everywhere you go you are surrounded by the results of advanced manufacturing. And once I realized that advanced manufacturing involved welding and robotics I knew I’d have some cool visuals to play with. Then we began looking for stories that would be of interest to the intended audience of middle school and high school students. And because of that young audience and the interesting visuals we wanted to find some high energy music that would help drive the video.

    Note: Scott used primarily rock music from UnqiueTracks albums Speed Demons and Modern Rock.

    I grew up, on the other side of the Detroit River, across from Detroit, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Both cities are manufacturing towns whose economies are linked to the making of cars. By the mid-1970s, when the automobile industry first bottomed out, almost everyone I grew up with in Windsor had left the city. As a boy, I watched from across the river as Detroit burned as fires swept the city during the riot of 1967. In a way, this event seems to be the flashpoint from which Detroit never fully recovered.

    The "Imported from Detroit" ad succeeds in attempting to show the human side of a city that has, as the ad says, “been to hell and back”.

    I am grateful to Scott Smith for his contributions to this article. Scott W. Smith is an old film school grad who after living in Miami, Los Angeles, and Orlandio ended up in Cedar Falls, Iowa in 2003. He and his company, River Run Productions, have worked on a variety of projects over the years including commercials, web videos, promotional DVDs, short films and documentaries. They’ve also provided camera support and field producing for various groups including the national TV programs The Montel Williams Show and The Doctors. In February, Scott added two Addy Awards to his shelf full of hardware that also includes two Regional Emmy Awards.

    I enjoy reading Scott’s blog articles on his site Screenwriting from Iowa

    This is what TomCruise.com said about the blog last year: "For a more off-beat look at writing, the Screenwriting from Iowa blog provides screenwriters with a slightly removed take from the Hollywood norm. Scott Smith blogs about how people outside of Los Angeles can have their stories told and sold for production in TinselTown. It’s inspiring for those of us around the world who aspire to Hollywood magic without having to live in Hollywood itself."

    I thought the text to the "Imported from Detroit" ad was incrediblly well-written. I could not find out who wrote the copy but this text and it’s delivery by Mr Yon really pack a punch.

    Here is the full text of the ad
    I ‘ve got a question for you. What does this city know about luxury? What does a town that’s been to hell and back know about the finer things in life? Well I’ll tell you. More than most. You see it’s the hottest fires that make the hottest steel. Add hard work, conviction, and a know-how that runs generations deep in every last one of us. That’s who we are. That’s our story. Now it’s probably not the one you’ve been reading in the papers. The one being written by folks who’ve never even been here and don’t know what we’re capable of. Because when it comes to luxury, it’s as much about where it’s from as who it’s for. Now we’re from America. But this isn’t New York City, or the Windy City, nor Sin City and we’re certainly no one’s Emerald City.

    This is the motor city. And this is what we do.
    The Chrysler 200 has arrived
    Imported from Detroit.

    Music mentioned in this article:

    Speed Demons Speed Demons V2
    Speed Demons, Vol. 1 Speed Demons, Vol. 2
    Modern Rock V1 Modern Rock V2
    Modern Rock, Vol. 1 Modern Rock, Vol. 2

    Quiznos campaign – Irritatingly Bad Jingles

    I’ve posted in the past about commercial jingles and how I believe that, when done well, they sell products better than the current trend of simply licensing a hit song and using it as background soundtrack in the ad. Jingles are, typically, more targeted, with lyrics that speak specifically about the product.

    However, this Quiznos ad campaign shows just how bad a jingle can be. The song is Three Blind Mice (with new words). The herky-jerky, stumbling arrangement and intensely irritating vocal performance make this a hard 30 seconds to sit through.

    There’s a whole series of these ads now (with different “jingles”) Does this sell food? Certainly leaves a queasy feeling in my stomach.

    FreeCreditReport.com Jingle Power


    FreeCreditReport.com is running at least six commercials featuring a down-on-their-luck rock band singing in various settings bemoaning the fact that their credit is bad.  The actors are obviously musically talented, the drummer actually knows how to play drums, you can tell by looking at him.  I found out that the singer is a French Canadian actor/musician named Eric Violette,  (it’s not actually his voice we hear though, he’s lip-syncing).  

    I think these are very strong ads. They feature the time-tested, but somehow out-of-favor Commercial Jingle.  A jingle is a song written expressly for a commercial.  The music and words of a jingle are directly targeted to sell the product.  When I was growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, jingles were the way most products were marketed on television.  Most people of my generation can still recite or hum the jingles from that time.  

    Jingles gradually lost favor with advertisers and were replaced by what we all now hear everyday on TV – the licensed pop song put in service of a product.  I’ve written before about why I don’t like this method of advertising. I call it “lifestyle” advertising, where the marketer tries to create an ad that will connect with to the viewer’s sense of identity therefore connecting the product too.  Using a pop song is the fastest/easiest way to do this. If you can connect your brand with a song by Wilco, for instance,  that’s a valuable cultural connection to make for your product.  Your product can now live in the same cultural space that the songs of Wilco inhabit appealing to fans of that music and others that want a sense of the contemporary.

    In actuality, I do not think this type of ad is very effective because when the spot gets placed into the ad mix that viewers see on a typical TV day, the lifestyle that the ad is portraying gets merged with all the other lifestyles from all the other lifestyle ads and the spots’ message gets merged as well into this jumble of  lifestyle imagery and pop hits.  The products, however, don’t get defined and their identities and marketing messages get muddled.  Viewers recognize the pop tunes but the connections to the products are lost.  Even with repetition, I believe these ads are a weak way to sell the product.

    Jingles on the other hand are written directly for the product.  A good jingle campaign, like the FreeCreditCard.com ads, will brand the company name right into the song.  A successful ad will, over time, have viewers singing along with the jingle, either subconsiously or even overtly.

    Lately I’ve heard a few fresh jingle campaigns.  Optimum’s Reggaeton Jingle and also AAMCO’s I Got A Guy campaign use jingles.  I am willing to bet that these ad campaigns were very succcesful as well.

    I was at a cocktail party last New Year’s and I was talking to a young advertising executive and I asked him why jingles lost favor.  His response was interesting.  He said that more often than not, it is the client, not the ad agency, that is pushing for the high-priced licensed song.  He explained it as the client getting bragging rights for the company.  They are able to boast to the industry and their competition that they have gone out and licensed a multi-million dollar song for their latest campaign.  To me, this is to lose site of the goal of the campaign, which is to sell, no?

    UPDATE: June, 2010
    The FreeCreditReport guys have been retired

    Other articles on this subject
    Where have all the jingles gone?

    Swiff it Good, The Music Industry in Chaos

    On or Off Target with Hello Good Buy? – Poll

    Target Corporation has been using the Beatles classic Hello Goodbye in its recent TV advertising. One spot aired during last Sunday’s Grammy Awards broadcast. They have changed the word Goodbye to Good Buy morphing the song’s refrain into an ad slogan “Hello Good Buy, Hello Good Buy, Hello Good Buy….” The campaign is “Say Hello to Good Buys at Target”.

    Hello Goodbye is a song from the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour album and was a number 1 hit for the Beatles in both the US and UK in 1967.

    Licensing classic songs is attractive to advertisers (those with deep enough pockets) because they can then begin to trade on the cultural significance of the song. Hello Goodbye is part of the soundtrack for a whole generation (or more). By licensing the song, advertisers leverage this collective, accumulated experience channelling it to sell merchandise. But does our culture (do we) pay a price for this?

    How does hearing a classic song like the Beatles' Hello Goodbye
    as soundtrack in a TV commercial affect you?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

    There are several spots using Hello Goodbye. Each has a different musical style or arrangement. Here is one version taken from YouTube.

    Optimum’s Reggaeton Jingle

    More evidence that the commercial jingle is making a comeback can be found in Cablevision’s campy ad for its Optimum’s Triple Play service (High Speed Internet, Digital Cable TV & Digital Phone Services).

    The jingle uses the dance style Reggaeton to create a fun, over-the-top spot that targets the urban, Latin American market. Reggaeton – a dance style that blends Jamaican reggae and dancehall with Latin American dance rhythms, hip hop and electronica – first gained popularity in Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican musicians and producers have spread the music to the U.S.

    It’s a jingle. The music is original and was written specifically to underscore the important elements of Cablevision’s Optimum campaign. The catchiest part of it, and the part that seems to be resonating with viewers, is the chanting of the toll free phone number – the “8–7–7-3-9-3–4-4-4–EIGHT” part.

    Here are some comments pulled from YouTube, Yahoo and other sites…

      lmao i lovee that comerical.. its catchy lol.. i cant even memorize my boyfriends number that fast..

      HAHAHAHA I Love this ssongg everyone sings it in school

      When I was sick in bed this was the only thing that kept going through my head “877 393 444 EIIIIGHT!” I want to kill them.

      This is GREAT!! Especially love when the hot mami’s sing,. “8–7–7-3-9-3–4-4-4–EIGHT!!!” Great!

      there is no point to this video but i love it it is so funny!!!

    When viewers are laughing and teasing each other with your commercial and the music, the jingle, has embedded your toll free number into their consciousness, then you have hit an advertising grand slam.

    Yes there are negative comments about the commercial as well but they are mostly complaints about frequency. The ad is being shown a lot. It is currently bombarding the NYC market. But again, the frequency is probably driven by the ads apparent success.

    I’ve been writing about jingles lately because I believe their power has been neglected by creatives at ad agencies. Jingles have an uncool or old-fashioned stigma and have, until recently, been ignored.

    Taken individually, lifestyle spots, which typically license hit songs from the 1970s/80s/90s pop catalog as their soundtrack, seem creative and funny but they run into problems when watched one-after-another during a commercial break. The ads tend to blur together. Instead of shining a light on the product, the overall effect is weakened by a slew of similar approaches. Everyone is branding the same upbeat lifestyle. There is no product differentiation. The commercial goes to great lengths to keep viewers entertained but it forgets its actual purpose.

    Jingles, on the other hand, get right to the point and directly sell your campaign.