Commercial Artistry: Cat Power & Cingular, J. Ralph & VW, Everyone & Coke

First Jack White, now Flaming Lips have jumped on the Coke bandwagon. It appears that Wayne & Co. were commissioned to score a short animation for Coca-Cola M5, whatever that is (“5 design groups from 5 continents create and share visions of optimism, blah blah blah…”) At that linked Lobo site, click on ‘English’ and then the third bar from the top. (Beware: robots!)

The marriage of art and commerce is so not a big deal these days. We all applauded Iron & Wine’s dippy M&M kaleidoscope, The The’s handsome Dockers, and My Morning Jacket’s low carb beer diet. Not to mention St. Nick Drake. (How many of you owned Bryter Layter before VW licensed “Pink Moon”? Honestly?)

Anyway, this brings me to my new friend Sam Bisbee, who produced a Cingular spot featuring an exclusive Nerves cover by Fader covergirl Cat Power. What would the community think if we never get to hear it? Hopefully Cingular will raise the bar and get that shit streaming. If you find a link post in the comments.

Via Matador’s site: Yes that is the unique sound of Ms. Marshall’s voice, covering the Nerves’ ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ is [sic] a widely seen television advertisement for Cingular Wireless. Though people keep asking us how they can obtain their own copy of this cover, at present, the only thing we can suggest is that you purchase a very large TV set, a digital video recorder…and check out “The Colbert Report”. It won’t help you with the Nerves cover, but at least you’ll be entertained.

Finally, I’d like to tell you about J. Ralph, who has written some beautiful TV jingles you’ll definitely recognize. Actually, you probably already know of him; Slate profiled his most famous piece (from VW Jetta’s “Wedding/The Big Day” spot) three years ago. But it wasn’t until I read Scott Frampton’s recent Esquire piece that I thought to download the song.

“Anything that makes sound, I find inspiration in,” Ralph told NPR earlier this year. “Whether it’s raindrops, or crickets, or newspaper rustling, or drums, or gongs or anything.”

Listen to “One Million Miles Away” at He only has 3 friends. Show him some love.

Like the Cat Power commercial, I couldn’t track down vid of “The Big Day,” so here’s Slate’s description:

Against a pensive soundtrack (courtesy of J. Ralph, according to Volkswagen’s site), a young guy motors along a country road. He looks tense. He seems to be in formal attire. The soundtrack stays the same as we begin cutting back and forth between him and a fresh-faced brunette about to be married?fussed over in her gown by bridesmaids and so on. In the Jetta, the guy checks his watch. He would seem to be the groom. His speedy Jetta helps him blow past occasional pokey drivers who block his way?but then he gets stuck at a train crossing. Although the only sound continues to be the trance-like music, we can see him scream in frustration. Finally he’s at the church, dashes out of the car, up the church steps. Inside, there’s the young woman in her wedding dress. Marrying someone else. This wasn’t Mr. Jetta’s wedding at all, apparently, but one that?Benjamin Braddock-style?he hopes to bust up. The spot ends inconclusively, with bride, groom, and interloper regarding each other uncertainly. Then, of course, the VW “Drivers Wanted” tag line.

Given the current level of nonchalance about Ad-Rock (even Macca doesn’t give a shit), you might be wondering why Doors drummer John Densmore refuses to budge (despite Cadillac offering a cool $15 mil for “Break On Through.”) BoingBoing’s got that scoop.

UPDATE: Watch “The Big Day” spot here (MOV). (Thanks Elaine.)

UPDATE 2: Cat Power’s Cingular spot is live again! Watch!