From an old NY Times article…
In late summer 1999, Apples in Stereo got a call from their friend Tim Barnes, who lives in New York. He was working on an ad for Sony being done by Young & Rubicam and thought the band’s song “Strawberryfire” would be perfect. The agency was offering about $18,000. Was the band interested? … By the time Robert and Hilarie and their band mates had to make their decision, the ad world was already a jukebox for just the sort of band the Apples considered themselves. “The Lilys had done two commercials,” Robert says. “Spiritualized and Stereolab were on ads for Volkswagen. They were putting all this really cool music where there used to be just lame, sub-Top 40 jingles.”
That pretty much says it. Selling out isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can’t fault Radio 4 or Papas Fritas for lending their songs to Mitsubishi and Dentyne. Or Modest Mouse for being the soundtrack to a Nissan ad. The television commercial is the only media outlet willing to introduce indie music to a national audience (here were some of your favorites back in December).
With that said, it is off-putting when musicians (not Britneys and Beyonces; I’m strictly referring to real musicians) go a step further and become actual pitchmen for products that have nothing to do with music. These are some of the funny ones I’ve seen this month.
Lillix’s official site actually announces the band’s new role as pitchwomen for Acuvue Advance Contact Lenses (Tasha is a contact lense wearer in the band). The commercial “will be all over TV throughout the Spring. There will also be print ads in Teen People, Entertainment Weekly, and In Style.”
For some reason, Smashmouth doesn’t mention this on their site:
I didn’t know about the band’s partnership with Zours until we spotted a “limited edition” box of the candy at Hollywood Video. Some Zours boxes bear a photo of Smashmouth. Others have a photo of Jump5. I don’t know who they are either.
The worst offender is Jewel. She is now a pitchwoman for L’Oreal Feria hair color. Maybe she thought she didn’t alienate enough fans with her Intuition debacle? As Rob Walker said in Slate: How to explain writing a song that tells us all to resist the total marketing mentality all around us, promoting it with a video (watch in Windows Media) that satirizes advertising, all the while urging us to just be ourselves?and then licensing that song to a consumer products company for a huge sales campaign?
If Franz Ferdinand start shilling for Target please shoot me.