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Wednesday, January 21, 2004
What's next, "London Calling" on an ad for Reebok?
The appropriation of pop songs into commercials keeps getting weirder and weirder. The latest example is a new Oldsmobile ad that mixes The Flaming Lip's "Do You Realize?" with graceful shots of their latest model. The only lyrics included in the ad are the inconsequential opening line, skidding around the fact that the song's themes are focused on fleeting mortality. The chorus ("Do you realize that everyone you know, someday, will die?") is probably not the best thing to have associated with an automobile.
Still, this isn't nearly as strange as a recent Carnival Cruise Lines commercial that mixes "Lust for Life" with shots of happy families frolicking in swimming pools. Again, this one focuses on only key portions of The Stooges' classic anthem, neglecting lyrics about stripping, torture films, drug abuse, passing out on sidewalks and...chickens. Carnival has also dropped one of the nastiest lines in the history of music from the ad: "I've never had it in the ear before." It's a shame, really. There's probably a lot of ear-fucking on the average cruise. They should make it a selling point.
But the king of all ads with misappropriated pop songs has to be another recent car commercial that uses The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" as a soundtrack. Maybe I’ve been reading too much into it but doesn’t this song compare the blood lust of youth gangs to Nazi war tactics?
Also: last year, lead singer Jello Biafra lost a court case to former members of The Dead Kennedy’s who wanted to sell "Holiday in Cambodia" to Levis. While the ad has yet to appear, this hasn't stopped them from touring under the name, sans Biafra.
Yes, this was all bound to happen once the teens of the late '70s hit middle age. Still, it's one thing to combine ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" with advertisements for Passats. The last place DIY punk, which was meant to incite and shock, is on top of a car commercial.
Things should really get interesting in about ten years, when members of Generation X begin creeping into their 40s. NIN's "Hurt" would go great with an ad for Kodak.