Keen-eared advert-watchers may have noticed that the music soundtracking the recent Sky TV Lego Batman promo, and the latest Walkers crisps advert, is the same song. Musical repetition in the ad world is nothing new – five years ago, you couldn’t go five minutes without happening upon the godawful cod-funk of How Ya Like Me Now by the Heavy – but what’s interesting about the Sky/Walkers track is that it is Ante Up, a 17-year-old classic by ultra-hardcore Brooklyn rap duo MOP. The song is a hymn to the joys of making quick money via armed robbery and ransom (sample lyric: “You want big money? Kidnap that fool!”), activities that are presumably contrary to the brand values of Sky and Walkers. Whatever would Gary Lineker think? But it’s not the first time wholly inappropriate music has been used in an ad campaign …
Nissan Micra (Bonnie and Clyde, Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot)
The current “Micra as getaway car” concept seems like an odd one for an advert, but not half as odd as the choice of soundtrack, a French-language number about the life and violent death of the titular murderous outlaws. Bonnie and Clyde, lest we forget, were practically cut in half with gunfire while in their car, a car in which their bullet-riddled corpses lay smoking while the public turned up to ogle. This is probably not what Nissan wishes to suggest will happen to its customers.
P&O Stena Line (Atmosphere, Joy Division)
Nowadays, cruise ship adverts feature Rob Brydon twatting around in deck shorts, but in 2002, apparently nothing said “Happy sailing!” more than Joy Division’s funereal classic. The song was last heard promoting the RSPB, presumably to court the goth ornithologist demographic.
Lambrini (The Snake, Al Wilson)
At the end of the noughties, Lambrini unveiled “the Lambrini”, a high-energy dance for ladies to accompany their enjoyment of the ghastly perry of the same name. Oddly, they chose as the dance’s theme song Wilson’s Northern Soul classic, ostensibly about how women are credulous and blinded by their nurturing nature, in which the female protagonist dies from a bite from a treacherous serpent. Maybe the message was: Lambrini – it’s better than snakebite.
Virgin Atlantic (Relax, Frankie Goes To Hollywood)
On its 25th anniversary, Virgin returned to the sights and sounds of 1984 to accompany a group of glamorous air stewardesses turning heads as they sashayed through an airport. That the soundtrack was a dark sex-electro hymn to the WHOAH! and OOF! of illicit gay sex thus seems a tad contrary. The vocals are sheared from the mix, possibly to eliminate the image of said stewardesses wanting to “suck to it”. Maybe Wham’s Freedom might have been more appropriate.