Great Moments in Brand-Band Synergy

There are two things in this world very dear to me: music and movies (actually, three if you’ve seen this blog before). Slightly higher if you count friends, family, yadda, yadda (Hi, Mom). As one of the few people who have a Blockbuster online account (nonconformist!), I wanted to discuss the recent Netflix pricing news and what Little Boy Blue could do to position itself as a serious threat to Big Red. However, as Blockbuster has roughly zero interesting ad campaigns to show for its multitude of bad business decisions, it felt like I’d be cheating, as advertising is kind of the point of this blog. Moving on.

As a bit of a music snob (nonconformist!), seeing a great band get recognition on a larger scale provides a nice, warm feeling inside. Mainly because it proves you’re cool for reading obscure electronica blogs. These days, it seems lazy for an ad to feature a mainstream artist unless they are the subject. Getting a big-name musician attached to your product is often tantamount to saying, “we spent a lot of money on these people and now you will like us!” (Hi, Pepsi). For those moments when music is vividly woven into a brand story and leaves you saying “wow,” we honor their brand-band synergy. (Sorry for bringing that one back from the marketing buzzword graveyard. That should probably only be done ironically.)

Nike x AC/DC

Frankly, this post could be exclusively Nike. In the interest of variety, this 2006 spot – introducing the Air Max 360 – will carry the torch for the Swoosh. The cinematography is great, but AC/DC’s “Rock N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” carries the spot. The slow build synchronizing an early morning wake-up call makes for a perfect soundtrack.

Kia x The Heavy

The immensely popular spot from the 2010 Super Bowl was a showcase for The Heavy’s “How You Like Me Now.” A fitting anthem for the rebellious monster, robot, monkey, bear and I-don’t-know-what-that-other-thing-is who fantasize about getting tattoos and driving a Kia. Plus, they’re all from Yo Gabba Gabba or something.

Apple x C.S.S.

Apple wrote the book on finding catchy songs for commercials, and when you run an operation called iTunes, maybe that is to be expected. A number of iPod/iTunes ditties could have gone here, coming from a long line of great advertising. Getting the nod is the iPod Touch, featuring “Music is My Hot, Hot Sex” by the funky Brazilians known as C.S.S. A fun track, the requisite fitting lyrics, and coming from a group whose name translates to “tired of being sexy.” So on top of all that, these guys understand the struggle.

Google x The Arcade Fire

One of the most unique blends of band and brand was not on television, but, appropriately, in a browser. The Wilderness Downtown, presented by Google Chrome, demonstrated the power of the fancy-pants, world wide web language, HTML5, alongside the sounds of talented Canadian octet, The Arcade Fire. A little bit high-tech and little bit indie rock, TWD apparently was not as widely seen as one might think. A few months later, the band won the Grammy for Album of the Year, causing mass confusion as people everywhere, perhaps dwelling under non-indie rocks, asked “who is Arcade Fire?

Pineapple Express x M.I.A.

The use of previously released songs in movie trailers was nothing new around the time Pineapple Express was set to hit theaters. In 2008, musical artist M.I.A. was well-established as her song, “Paper Planes,” had hit the public’s ears – along with her 2nd album, Kala – almost a year prior. Yet it wasn’t until the Seth Rogen-James Franco trailer used it to promote the film, that the song took off (pun intended?). Paper Planes adeptly captured – satirically or not, depending on how the lyrics are interpreted – the faux-toughness of the movie’s characters, while bringing a new audience to M.I.A.’s music.

Whole Foods x White Rappers

“Whole Foods Parking Lot” is not an official campaign for Whole Foods. In fact, the upscale market doesn’t really need to advertise at all when there are plenty of people willing to pay “80 bucks for 6 things.” If the guys behind Fog & Smog Films were actually commissioned to do this, it would be the greatest piece of viral marketing since the beginning of hyperbolic statements. Instead, it is simply the greatest rap parody video not produced by The Lonely Island. Brilliant in every way, none more so than DJ Dave rhyming “brah” with “Quinoa.”

There you have it. The definitive list. Is someone missing?

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