― Ollee, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― piscesboy, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― gareth, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― Dave225, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― mark s, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― Ben Williams, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
And his collegiate fan base never used their parents' ill-gotten
gains to pay for 4 - 8 year vacations in Bongville.
fuck that hippy crap.
― fritz, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― John Darnielle, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
And doesn't the artist have the right to choose how his or her work
is presented? If Iggy Pop wants Lust for Life to sell luxury cruises
- that's his call to make not mine.
― dleone, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
Dleone: I'm talking about ads being ahead of the curve
relative to other media. Which they are, at least in the US,
where not much outside of the obvious gets on bigtime TV or radio.
these aren't rhetorical questions, I only saw the commercial a few times and don't remember. but my memory of the commercial is of a very haunting little moment on tv, and the visuals seemed appropriate to the music.
― Josh, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
I don't know about this at all mark s. Ads for what? An album, or "I am a creative person"? If you mean ads for the album, I'd
suggest that "self-promotion" isn't even remotely the same thing as "someone else's product-promotion". On the other hand, if what
you're getting at is that a song is only ever an ad for the writer's own abilities, it would follow that ANY form of self-expression is
just that: part of some kind of marketing campaign to the outer world. You might be right, but christ I hope not.
I see the writers and producers genuinely happy that they found some great song to use in their spot, and maybe it is just
because it's cool, and their commercial will be cool because of it.
This is co-opting, Ben, to answer your earlier question.
― The Actual Mr. Jones, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― Joe, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
I'm sorry, it's not clear to me at all. The meaning of co-opt
referred to here is something like "to absorb or assimilate." What is
being assimilated, and by what?
Cool. By the advertiser.
I think what an advertiser is coopting, as seen in the Pink Moon
example, is your belief that this music is somehow yours and defines
your identity against other people who haven't heard it/don't like
Maybe, maybe not. Basically, Stereolab or whatever big indie
band you want to name is unknown to the population at large.
But as far as marketing people are concerned, they ooze cool.
They're cool in their reputed indie mystique, or whatever, like
some kind of intertextual reference to entire world of synthy
french vocalled indie pop stuff (er....)
the secret unspoken assumption being made by the ANTI-AD people is that ads are BY DEFINITION stronger art than the songs they tap into => what i dislike about john darnielle's line is it's basically defeatist... (also it's hugely anti-punk, but i won't get into that heh)
This is a bit of a stretch.
― Sean, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
This is the best thing I've heard all day. And real food for thought
...then the advertisers are telling them that it is, and therein again lies the essence of the co-opt.(Sorry I'm having trouble keeping
up, I'm a ridiculous two finger typist). I don't subscribe to the idea of a sinister machine at work either, I think it just happens, the
way d leone puts it up thread: some (probably very nice) ad people just sitting around trying to think of ways to make their company
The ad industry didn't invent cool at all, but I absolutely agree that the 60's counterculture was a major coup in this respect. I also
realize that that to take issue with this phenomenon is to rail hopelessly against what has become consumer culture writ large (is that
redundant?) but I do it anyway.
I wouldn't have thought so. It's lost all its purity, as far as I'm
concerned. it's not art any more. It's trying to sell you something!
It has an ulterior motive.
I'm sure this is all very personal, though. This is how it effects
me, and I'm not saying it effects you in the same way, or indeed,
that it should.
Does usage control meaning? Does "Pink Moon" now belong to
Volkswagen as opposed to Nick Drake, or you and me? Do we have no
minds of our own?
Instinctually, it just seems wrong to me to associate a song with
some product. That Republica song ("Ready to gooooo"), I see, is now
being used in *Dairy Queen* commercials (wasn't it used to sell
cars?); to be used that way, it just feels cheap. But, it helps if
the song fits more with the commercial (as its own entity) itself
than the product. Like, I remember Naked City's "Demon Sanctuary"
being used with some manic extreme-type commercial, and it seemed to
fit. I don't remember the product though. Then there's the part of
me that thinks "Well, commercials aren't going away. Would I rather
hear a good song by Stereolab or some crappy song, like 'We Built
This City' changed to 'We built this business'?". Maybe it's just
saturation. When I hear "One Small Step" by Stereolab, or "Pink
Moon" for that matter, I don't think of Volkswagen. But when I
hear "Everyday People," I can't help but think about cars. That's
I think it also helps if the song's lyrics have *nothing* to do with
the commercial, to create distance between the product and the song.
But damn, if I don't think "Target" when I hum "Speeding
Unrelated to music: I think the worst commercial atrocity ever
committed was digitally altering footage of Fred Astaire to make it
look like he was dancing with a Dirt Devil vacuum. It is just sad
and wrong on so many levels.
― Ernest, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
Speak for yourself, eh?
I would suggest that VW certainly hopes so, at least for the 30 seconds it's on the ad.
It should also be noted that the Drake VW thing and the "obscure indie bands" we were talking about are not the same situation.
Again, d leone's thoughts on the matter ("If I was Nick Drake, I would feel embarrassed that people knew my song for a VW
commercial, but I'm not, and he's dead, so it's moot.") probably sum it up for a lot of people. To me, that doesn't make it moot at
all. It makes it look like incredible cynicism, at best: "he's dead so who gives a fuck about context and his namby-pamby suicidal
depression, we'll de-contextualize the thing to the point of making our utilitarian product look like the golden key to a pleasant
existence." (Incidentally, this isn't obscure-artist coolness protectivism talking, either. I'm neither here nor there on Our Nick.)
Ben: agreed on the apparent similarities of the avant-gardist and the ad man, but intent goes a long, long way here. I'm not trying
to convert anybody to the dark side, but I really must state the (to me, mind) obvious and say that there is a nobility to the coolness of
a Yoko Ono which is glaringly absent in the actor impersonating a hippie who keeps insisting that Coke is it.
My thoughts on Yoko inside, doesn't
this just mean there are good ads and bad ads? Using Coke as your
example is like taking potshots at Kenny G.
(the "you" isn't aimed at anyone in partricular, it just sounds poncy if I say "one", and gravely insane if i say "me")
Depends on whether you're taking the short or the long view. In the
latter case, of course the ads won't make a whit of difference:
they're not meant to survive, not even as memes, for longer than a
few years. (Although jingles, which are another matter entirely, have
ungodly long legs: anybody older than thirty-three who doesn't
remember "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz"? Didn't think so.) In the short
view, though, perfectly lovely songs get these balls-and-chains
attached to them which don't speak so much to the "power of
advertising" as they do to the effortless brute weight of association
and the efficacy of senseless repetition.
That said, no, the use of "Walk on the Wild Side" in that Honda ad
years back (Lou: "Don't settle for walking") put only a small taint
on hearing the song which has now faded. I think people like me get
overexcited about this question because of how violent the short-run
I just don't believe people worry about songs getting swallowed whole
by the corporate whore-beast as much as they worry about feeling a
little more like a regular joe when they have to share something they
thought was above the heads of the common people.
And that's "mildly vexed" up there mark s, not "righteously indignant", before you jump all over me with your fancy talk and your
reckless slang. I already copped to being a cultural flat-earther on this question, but "precious" I won't take sitting down. Git yer dukes
up, ye! (winky faces all over the place here, incidentally, in case it's not implied)
did the tony kaye/michelin/venus in furs ad showe in the US? it was the pinnacle of the Velvet Underground's entire (Warholian) project, i think => partly because the absolute opposite of their mimsy band-that-invented-indie millstone heh
― Lord Custos 2.0 beta, Wednesday, 22 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
Yeow. The notion of Noble Poverty IS a complete farce, but I don't think being poor is really the main PURSUIT of most "alternative
types". I can sympathise with your work experiences, fritz, but you're letting a few ex co-worker yahoos and this Bill Hicks character
make the whole thing a convenient question of absolutes for you. It's facile. You've had a rough go of it with the indie crowd, so
anyone who questions a VW ad is a sham?
I ought to clarify my position too, since I don't identify with many of the arguments so far ventriloquized for the refusenik side up-
thread (and my, it's getting lonely on this side of the fence). I don't begrudge any particular "obscure indie groups" for peddling their
music out to ad agencies, either. As Ben correctly noted, they're more likely to make a living that way than they ever will on sales.
What bothers me is the reluctance to investigate WHY that's the way it is. This may come as a shock, but it isn't because small
businesses are somehow inherently more deceitful and greedy than major corporations. Please.
― The Actual Mr. Jones, Thursday, 23 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
― Tom, Friday, 24 May 2002 00:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
- Case Study: the latest Gap ad here uses Marmalade's "I See The
Rain". I know this song already and quite like it. I don't like it in
the ad because the ad looks crappy and out-of-date (slow-motion black-
and-white = reminder of Stiltskin). Does it diminish the song for me?
Privately, no. But I have to admit I would be less likely to put it
on a mixtape, say, for a clued-up friend because said friend would
reasonably assume I'd heard it on the Gap ad. I would be a bit
ashamed to have 'got into' a song via an ad - this isn't because of
the commercial soiling of the song but because my self-image is of
someone who gets into music quite early. BUT I would be more likely
to put the song on a mixtape for someone less musically aware because
I think they'd like it more with the added exposure.
- On the other hand I never have got into music via an ad and I find
music in ads a bit irritating because of that not despite it, i.e.
most of the music choices in adverts feel a bit forced and obvious to
me, because I know it all already. I would love an ad to introduce me
to some brilliant song I didn't know.
- Changing music in ads is more annoying than using original music.
That version of Toots and the Maytal's "Broadway Jungle" used to
advertise Nike (I think) and some football tournament - brilliant
song, entirely appropriate usage, good ad - but then they remixed it
to make it sound more 'modern' and my respect went out the window.
Changing the WORDS is totally unacceptable (unless it's Wheres Your
- Use of songs in movie soundtracks generally upsets me a lot more
than use of songs in ads. A song being associated with a product I
can cope with - unless I loathe that product. A song being associated
with a story though is intolerable - I want it to fit into MY
- Case Study #2: Babylon Zoo's "Spaceman" is an example of a dreadful
song being enormously improved by an advert.
- Actually picking music for ads must be one of the best jobs in the
world and I bet I'd be good at it - any vacancies going?
- Whether or not "cool" as a concept was invented by the ad world or
not, it's a nasty divisive idea which we'd be much better off
without, culturally. So any attempt to 'co-opt' it is fine by me.
- But the thing I'm saying about movies above does in the end mean I
don't like music I like being used in ads. It feels like an invasion
of the context I've built up around a song - that the invasion is for
commercial gain doesn't bother me, it's the fact of the invasion that
― dave q, Friday, 24 May 2002 00:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
― gareth, Friday, 24 May 2002 00:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
― John Darnielle, Friday, 24 May 2002 00:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Andrew L, Friday, 24 May 2002 00:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
― fritz, Friday, 24 May 2002 00:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
I simply don't accept this statement as true. (Mr. Jones' answer basically sums up why.)
isn't the actual reason for the nausea being announced here, that ad-ppl, who you despise, think a lot of a record that you think a lot of, which makes you feel you might be more like them than you want to be?
And I don't buy that either. Sure, there may be individuals of whom it's correct, but saying it's the "actual reason" is just silly.
Unfortunately, I number myself among those who believe that art can have within itself an articulate, intentional aesthetic communication, and in turn, that that act of communication can be rendered impossible by context. So if nothing else, I resent a lot of the commercial use of music because it doesn't give the music a context in which to sound. It takes the most superficial aspects of a song, beats them into the ground, and rules out the possibility of any kind of aesthetic response that would take longer than 30 seconds to play itself out.
That being said, I've heard more than a few ads that used music effectively, and even some that improved on the original. There's a Bally's fitness commercial that uses "Get This Party Started" -- a song I can't much stand -- but uses a version with some weird edits that chop up the phrase lengths, making Pink's voice enter on strange beats. It's much more interesting than the original.
I guess the bottom line is that some music is as effective -- and even on occasion more effective -- when it's used in commercial contexts. But there's a hell of a lot of music out there that simply doesn't work well in a 30-second spot -- whose entire point is lost in that format -- let alone with voice-overs and incongruous images (or ones that literally contradict the lyrics of the song, when there are lyrics). The end result is that the only access we get to the piece is of the most superficial kind, and so we're left with the musical equivalent of the same force that leads people to say things like "Money is the root of all evil" and "Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds".
― Phil, Friday, 24 May 2002 00:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
maybe i will at the weekend
"I number myself among those who believe that art can have within itself an articulate, intentional aesthetic communication" =>
yes phil, and so do i (cf my titanic struggle with Momus over what Garry Wills is talking abt on the Firbank thread on ILE), it's
just that i think communication happens in the world and in history, and NOT just in a perfect-forming instant in one person's
head then in perfect manifestation abstracted and uninterrupted for all time. "Song" came into being as a form and a behaviour
gradually and for a reason: it isn't an axiomatic structure or social dynamic handed out by God and/or Plato at creation. Nor was
the formal distinction ad/art.
(In fact the fact that you're citing the Salzburg argt — once you tidy it up historically and factually — will actually drive a coach
and horses thru the "anti-pomo" line you're laying down with its help...) ("pomo" in quotes cuz you never use the p-word,
thankfully, and I try not to either)
(must stop now as shd have left work half an hour ago!!)
― mark s, Friday, 24 May 2002 00:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
When I first read this I had no idea what you were talking about until I went back and reread the whole thread. My mistake -- the Jones post I was referencing was the "I don't know about this at all mark s." one, not the Salzburg one which I haven't really finished chewing on yet.
(most ads are awful, and most use of music in ads is awful => this is NOT because the use of music in ads is intrinsically and by definition a producer of awfulness)
I backed off on that point when I realized no one was actually saying it on this thread. I later mentioned points being "ventriloquized"
because much of the debate is being directed at imaginary arguments. Once again: I'm making an effort to steer clear of passé punk
reactionary hysterics here, avoiding not only "pomo" but also "immoral", "whoring", "big business is evil" etc.
― The Actual Mr. Jones, Friday, 24 May 2002 00:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover, Friday, 24 May 2002 00:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Kate Spiren, Friday, 24 May 2002 00:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
There is one song I can think of that will forever be associated with
an ad (I guess you have to live in the US to get it tho): Bob
Seger's "Like a Rock." There is no way he can ever play that song
again without people seeing a Chevy (I think) ad in their minds.
However, that took years and years of mindless repetition to achieve.
And I bet him and his kids never need to work another day because of
― Ben Williams, Friday, 24 May 2002 00:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
The Bank's statement came from spokeman George Bothwell: "We thought the lyrics caught rather nicely the imperative for large
institutions, like banks, that they face having to change".
― Sterling Clover, Monday, 10 June 2002 00:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
― king, Sunday, 25 April 2004 16:13 (9 years ago) Permalink
Oh, shut the fuck up. He never appeared on any Gap commercials or pepsi advertisements and didn't allow his work to be displayed on such commercials, either. Obviously you decided to skew the intent of what Bill Hicks meant to serve your own stupid fucking needs.
― huh, Sunday, 25 April 2004 17:07 (9 years ago) Permalink
fuck that hippy crap."
Spoken like a true idiot. congratulations, dumbfuck.
― uh, Sunday, 25 April 2004 17:09 (9 years ago) Permalink
Your argument is as tenuous as arguing that somebody who has socialist/communist beliefs is a sellout for accepting money for their cds.
― uh, Sunday, 25 April 2004 17:12 (9 years ago) Permalink
― Anilese Kissling, Thursday, 1 July 2004 02:37 (8 years ago) Permalink
Sometimes I'm glad an artist gets exposure (The Sonics with Have Love Will Travel, etc) but sometimes we feel that you're cheapening a song by exposing it to the average person.
What can happen is that we stop taking music at face value and it serves the prupose of being another extension of ourselves. Exploiting "hip" music can make hipsters feel like they're being exploited. Hip people seeking hip music to go along with their other hip tastes.
As for Mr. Hicks, he was hilariious but contradictory. He would rave about gov't conspiracies while simultaneously denouncing "gun-nuts" (why does he think they have so many guns?). He would also talk about how stupid gun people are for thinking that "more guns will mean less crime" when he followed that logic when it came to his opinions about the war on drugs. He thought it was incredibly stupid to think prosecuting drug users it would make anything better. His logic was "more drugs, less problems".
The problem with many "fight the man and/or corporate greed" people is that they define things like "greed" in an awfully shady way. When people come up with ways to make money giving the public what they want it's "private greed", but when they tell the people what they should want it's public interest. It was "Do What Thou Wilt" until they started losing their own money, and then it was "STOP ALL THE DOWNLOADIN'", to cite just one example.
― Cunga (Cunga), Wednesday, 23 February 2005 08:46 (8 years ago) Permalink
Wasn't expecting to be introduced to the sounds of JIM REEVES through an ad but hey it works!
― xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 30 March 2010 19:42 (3 years ago) Permalink
(or other sounds beyond the one xmas tune...)
― xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 30 March 2010 19:43 (3 years ago) Permalink