How often do you watch or listen to a TV or radio advert and cringe at the fact they’ve chosen some of your favourite music to soundtrack a terrible advert or a horrible product or a combination of both?
I suppose we shouldn’t get too precious about these kinds of things, after all the writers might need the money. If I’d written a piece of music that someone wanted to use on an advert and they were willing to pay me would I allow it? Of course I would, just as long as it wasn’t used to promote the likes of the BNP, the Daily Mail, Cheese on Toast or the Tory Party.
I was pointed in the direction of the new John Lewis television advert by my good friend Nick Horslen. It is soundtracked by a cover version of the Smiths song “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” by Slow Moving Millie. Personally I don’t think it’s a particularly bad cover, perhaps just a bit bland. Some songs just pass me by on adverts I think, but others are particularly annoying. It’s hardly a song, but I generally change channels if the Go Compare advert comes on, I can’t stand that obnoxious faux opera. However, whilst I am not a big opera fan I do love the music that British Airways have used on many of their ad campaigns; “The Flower Duet” from the opera Lakme composed by Leo Delibes.
As for songs that I love that have been used in disappointing ads, I have to say I was gutted (yes I too am very precious sometimes) when Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” was used to advertise pizzas on TV a couple of years back. But equally Levi’s used some classic music in their brilliant series of TV adverts, including “I Heard It Through The Grapevine“. That same series made hits of many songs that hadn’t been around for years. My particular favourites were “Stand By Me” by Ben E King and “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” from my favourite band of all time, The Clash. But for every one of those there are plenty of awful selections; for example the new Christmas ad for Marks & Spencer uses a version of “When You Wish Upon A Star” by the 2011 X Factor finalists!
Which of your favourite songs have been used in adverts and what did you feel about it?