Tag Archives: music

Roy and Coach K rocking out… together?

Just when I thought I’d seen it all, what comes across the screen?

Wow. Coach K jamming on guitar? In his undies?  Really?  And with Roy Williams (and Bob Knight and Rick Pitino) sans pants, no less.

I thought Michael Phelps rocking with A-Rod, Tony Hawk and Kobe was the peak of ridiculousness this campaign could hit:


What stomachache-inducing combo will DDB (and H.S.I. Productions) come up with next?


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Music in Commercials

When the Martin Agency first started making UPS Whiteboard commercials, their ironic choice to use the music of The Postal Service was well documented.  While I thought the song choice was a perfect selection for the quirky UPS ads, I also had a hard time getting past the band’s name to sell the services of USPS’s rival.

Music is a powerful ingredient in advertising.  And just like any kitchen recipe, the amount and intensity of an ingredient should be dependent on the balance of all the elements in the composition.  It can carry the recipe, or can complement it.  And of course in failed concoctions, it can overwhelm or underwhelm to work against the intended message.

Here are two commercials that ensnared my attention lately due to the musical components:

“Victory” McDonald’s spot for 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing
Music: Os Mutantes – A Minha Menina
Agency:  DDB Chicago

I downloaded this song within ten minutes of seeing the commercial.  That pretty much tells you all you need to know about the music: it was arresting, catchy, and put me on a mission to listen to it more.  I also love that the music tells the story completely and that there was no need for dialogue whatsoever.  Despite the strength of the music, I don’t think it overpowered the message.

Visa commercial
Music: Smashing Pumpkins – Today
Agency: TBWA

The Smashing Pumpkins have been getting a lot of flack for “selling out” this week by letting Visa use their music in this commercial.  Maybe they are selling out, maybe they aren’t, but the point is, TBWA picked a ’90s anthem which not only cuts through clutter, but also drives more attention to their brand because of the debate.  Plus the agency chose Morgan Freeman, who an AdWeek columnist names “the official voice of God in this age of mild Depression,” to narrate the commercial, making it even more memorable.  I think the song is an interesting choice and empowering, which I believe was TBWA’s and Visa’s intention.  I think the bad press is more catastrophic to the band than the brand, but I also believe that most of the general market will like or dislike the song while caring little about whether or not Billy Corgan and his band sold out.

I think both commercials successfully incorporated the music they chose and adequately conveyed their brand’s message, but the first one was a far better and more memorable commercial overall.

What songs have you seen in commercials lately that grabbed your attention?  Did they work for or against the brand?


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Fake Indie

Look around you, the world is full of posers. People who wish they were someone else. Someone cooler. Sometimes they talk the talk, or even walk the walk, but somewhere in between or before, they frequently wear the uniform.

One of the most common hats people try on is the one of fake indie. I don’t know that there is one true uniform, but real and fake indies are tough to differentiate on dress alone. One of the many choices they may opt for include “checkerboard” Vans shoes, ripped jeans, and more or less obscure bands’ t-shirts.

I actually like this look and have chosen to rock interesting shoes of my own from time to time when I bother to wear something other than flip-flops. I personally don’t understand why so many chose to wear this particular eyesore (sorry friends who own this model) when there are so many other pretty Vans variations, including some pretty cute argyle ones. Anyway, I digress.

What I’m wondering is, why does everyone chose this particular Ramones t-shirt as their way to assert their deviation from the mainstream?

It can’t be that indie if I’ve seen it shown so much on mainstream media. I’ve seen this shirt worn by quasi-hipster, in the music “know” characters Peyton Sawyer (on One Tree Hill) and Brendan Dorff (from My Boys). (Yes, I admitted some pretty embarrassing TV-watching in the previous statement.) I also see people wear this shirt around quite a bit. Maybe it’s because I live in Austin… who knows. It’s a cool shirt, but it surprises me how many people own it. Is it comparable to the Hard Rock Cafe shirts of the ’90s? Well, not quite, but it’s still interesting to observe its ubiquitousness. I can’t help but wonder if the people I see wearing this shirt are the people I saw milling around ACL and raving about the amazingness of The Killers.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Anyway I guess my point is wear what you want because it’s you. If indie is what you are, be just that… be independent. Aren’t there some unsaid tenets about being indie regarding not selling out and embracing differences? Be yourself. Of course you can and should adopt influences you see and incorporate them into your own wardrobe. But make it you. Oh wait, I’m the last person anyone should be taking fashion advice from.

So this isn’t a complete loss I’ll impart some actual fashion sense: dress to accentuate whatever attributes you like about yourself.

The writer of this post admits to enjoying so-called indie music but rarely remembers the names of the artists and even less often, the words to the songs. Her favorite music groups are “ones that peaked in 1994” and “once-indie bands that sold out.” She even pays for her music on iTunes. How patently uncool.

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The Best Free Show Everyone Missed

Last night I had a chance to see The Roots play at the UT campus for 40 Acres Fest. I had my doubts about giving up a night of Final Four action, but free live music five blocks from my apartment will certainly get my attention.

Despite conflicting with one of America’s favorite sporting events, thousands showed up to see the show. The spectators were treated to The Roots’ own brand of experimental hip hop. They played a great set and even integrated beats from “This is Why I’m Hot,” “Sexyback,” and “Jungle Boogie.” I loved whenever the entire band would dance together in a choreographed routine, but the highlight for me was the endless energy of the tuba player. Despite lugging around this enormous instrument for the duration of the show, he always radiated his enthusiasm in his dancing while he played. The Roots definitely put on a memorable show.

In hoops action, Memphis defeated UCLA by 15 and Kansas beat UNC by 18. It has been a fitting Final Four to end what has easily been my worst bracket-picking job of all time. Like everyone else, I doubted Memphis, and was once again proven wrong. Though after seeing the Tigers manhandle the Longhorns last week, I can’t say that the outcome of the Memphis-UCLA game was a huge surprise. As for Kansas, I’m still upset about Davidson losing to them by 2 in the Elite 8. Does this mean Davidson would have beat Carolina by 19 if they made that 3-pointer at the buzzer? Could you imagine, with all the UNC fans cheering so fervently for Davidson in the opening rounds?

I guess this means my personal “Kansas rule” will have to be revoked for March Madness Bracket ’09 and beyond. For those of you who don’t know, after several years of Kansas choking in the tournament and screwing up my bracket, I decided to institute a “Kansas rule” where I didn’t allow the team to proceed beyond the Sweet 16 in making my selections. After two or three years of this working beautifully, the Kansas rule (as well as all of my personal bracket-picking rules this year) has blown up in my face. Which means next year I’ll put them in the Final Four, and an unknown team like Bradley will knock them out in the first round again, devastating my bracket and leaving me cursing.

Revised final prediction: Memphis beats Kansas 78-66 in the final. Take that with a grain of salt.

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