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A Musical Homage: Ten Best Ad/Music Pairings of All-Time

These toe-tapping, party-hopping tunes have made it to Senior Music Producer Chris Clark's list of the top ten ad/music pairings of all-time, and we guarantee that at least one of these will strike a chord. Don't miss our Wildfire session "Is Your Brand Part of Music Culture or Just Borrowing Interest?" at 16:45 in Audi A, Palais Des Festivals featuring Chris, our Executive Director of Production Vincent Geraghty and even Ne-yo. Yes, Ne-yo.


The Ten Best Ad/Music Pairings of All-Time
Senior Music Producer Chris Clark

Converse - “Build.Destroy.Rebuild” by Hanni El Khatib
This song’s chorus awesomely ties together faked footage of Converse’s evolution from the most historic basketball shoe, into the staple footwear of music/street culture over the last 60 years. Before I was a full-time music supervisor, I remember hearing the pre-release of this EP and thinking almost all the songs were amazing for attitude-heavy ads — when most of them were subsequently licensed by Converse, Nike, etc., I realized I may have a chance at this gig.

Adidas - “Higher Ground” by TNGHT
One of my favorite songs to get fired up to for the last couple years, I’ve loved the build-up, trap beats and brass hook since Flying Lotus premiered it at Pitchfork Festival a couple years ago. It fits pretty nicely with the swagger of Adicolor and the NBA stars in the spot.

AT&T - “Memory Lane” by Eddy Current Suppression Ring
Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s record “Primary Colours” pretty much soundtracked my life during the fall of 2008, and to hear this Aussie garage rock heroes in a phone company spot about nostalgia just reiterates that the best music from non-mainstream scenes can still work pretty well in commercial advertising.

Apple - “1,2,3,4” by Feist
The most important of the all the Apple spots that introduced a new artist – to me at least! The spot launched the Nano and used the variety of product colors and choreography to introduce an indie darling to the mainstream audience with a BIG pop song.

Samsung - “Royals” by Lorde I had to throw in one that I worked on, and for personal reasons, this was really special. In retrospect, its unbelievable to know that we found a perfect lyrical song to bring the beautiful visual story of this spot to life, while during the post production process the song was fatefully climbing from an alternative hit to the #1 song on the Hot 100. It felt great for our music team and the creatives, producers and clients to know we were onto something special at the perfect time.

HP - “Pictures of You” by The Cure
It still amazes me that Robert Smith allowed his music to be used in advertising, but clearly this marked a turning point in formally ad-unfriendly artist’s being willing to license their music in the early 2000’s. I think its a testament to the production quality of the spot and how the song brought to life an emotional connection between what the product could actually do to make memories even easier to preserve – if Robert Smith was into it, we all should be.

NFL Go 60 - “The Power Is On” by The Go Team
It sometimes bothers me when a somewhat unknown song I love suddenly appears in a commercial many, many years after its release – mostly just because I wish the commercial use would’ve been at a time it could really boost interest in a band’s record and build their fan base. That said, its impossible NOT to love the infectious cheerleader chants of The Go Team over children and NFL players getting hyped up on a school bus to play time.

McD’s - “A Minha Menina” by Os Mutantes
One of the more unexpected uses of music in a major Super Bowl ad ever, this old gem by Brazilian psych legends Os Mutantes perfectly demonstrates how something that initially doesn’t make sense can make the most sense – the groove feels perfect for the children soccer players taunting and consoling each other, especially when the chorus rises to escalate the kids’ varying facial expressions, only to return to the attitude of the dirty guitar hook to close the spot.

Ford Explorer - “Go Do” by Jonsi
The spot itself is not particularly memorable, but the song certainly is — its rhythmic, jubilant, ethereal, emotional and a simple call-to-action from an artist who was just trying out a solo career after being burned out on the success of his band, Icelandic innovators, Sigur Ros. Its quite often that creative team request I find the new “Go Do”, but clearly, there is only one. Nice work, Jonsi.

VW - “Pink Moon” by Nick Drake
As a somewhat anti-mainstream music high school kid in the late 90’s, I didn’t think an advertisement would ever affect me or my group of friends in an significant way. Well…..this commercial sent my best friend into a spiral of Nick Drake discovery and worship (including him becoming an amazing nylon string guitarist), and it sent another friend to beg her parents to buy her a VW Cabrio. The spot is beautiful, the music is idyllic, and clearly the art and the ad were — effective!