Marketer/Product: Apple's iPod Nano
Agency: TBWA/Media Arts Lab
If you want to know the impact of this song in this ad, ask your mother. She could be one of the thousands of people who discovered the (relatively) unknown Leslie Feist and her blossoming songcraft through a shuffling stack of Nanos. With corporate radio more irrelevant than ever, great music is bound to sprout up somewhere, and Apple was nimble enough to pluck this one up first. (WATCH)
Artist: Architecture in Helsinki
Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Oh, how easily this ad could have been a load of heavy-handed nonsense from a giant corporation cheaply tugging on our heartstrings to sell a handset. But it's not, and attention-deficit Australian indie-pop band Architecture in Helsinki is owed a debt of gratitude for lending their sweetly innocent vocals and helping to make this paean to childhood seem plausible instead of corny. (WATCH)
Artist: Regina Spektor
Marketer: JC Penney
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York
This ad is all about an interplay between dainty bunny steps, hopping piano keys and smartly dressed people tip-toeing through life's obstacles. However, like the song, the spot is a soft sell. It's not overtly product-focused, and Ms. Spektor's voice swirls around colorful clothing like a leaf in the wind. Rarely does a song fit so well with the tempo and spirit of a spot. (WATCH)
'HOLD ON TIGHT'
Artist: Electric Light Orchestra
Marketer: Honda Accord
Honda pretty much let Electric Light Orchestra's Jeff Lynne do all the talking in this spot promoting the Accord's fuel efficiency and environmental chumminess, and it works. As the field of sunflowers and herds of antelope pass by in a tunnel, the influential singer's layered harmonies are the hopeful notes that keep this ad playing in your head well after it's over. (WATCH)
'THE WAY I AM'
Artist: Ingrid Michaelson
Marketer/Product: Old Navy's Fair Isle sweater collection
This Old Navy ad is not artsy, fussy, hucksterish or insincere. There's no pretense of coolness, no cheap displays of nostalgia and no downbeat house music. It's just simple, elegant and pretty -- exactly how one should sell sweaters. With her warm, glossy voice, Michaelson wraps a Fair Isle sweater around love and warms it up with some unforgettable, a-capella shower-ready harmonies. (WATCH)
Organization: Colorado State Tobacco Education & Prevention Partnership
Pitched at the ankles of a forest, a young, oblong girl holds a golden "C" in her hands as CocoRosie's Bianca Casady croons about "her crazy style." Most of the target audience for this dreamy anti-smoking PSA is probably unfamiliar with the indie duo, but the song speaks so beautifully to the theme of young people making good choices that some of them may wonder who's singing. (WATCH)
Artist: Paper Scissors
Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Over a spiraling, breakneck-cowbell beat, Paper Scissors busts out a Bootsy Collins baseline and shouts vocals in this spot for Australia's Riva instant coffee. As the shopping trolleys are spinning and flavor crystals are cascading onto the floor, the track then flares up and crashes into something altogether magnificent and fairly stupid before it ends. (WATCH)
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto
Over a montage of outdoor fashion ads and plastic-surgery scenes, Simian's "L.A. Breeze" works in much the same way as the more-austere track behind Dove's "Evolution" spot. And this time there are lyrics. In the opening sequence, Simian singer Simon Lord seems to be warning the little red-headed girl that her mind is going to be warped by the procession of images to come. (WATCH)
'IN THE AIR TONIGHT'
Artist: Phil Collins
Marketer: Cadbury Dairy Milk
Agency: Fallon, London
Even before Phil Collins's mammoth drum-fill payoff, this ad is so absurd you have to giggle, even if you're not really sure why. And it's also OK if you have no idea what this iconic song has to do with chocolate or an ape, because Cadbury is trying to say that some of the best things in life -- candy, Phil Collins, etc. -- don't have to make sense. (WATCH)
'YOU ARE MY FACE'
Agency: Crispin Porter & Bogusky
This was one of three VW spots alt-country band Wilco used to show off tracks from this year's "Sky Blue Sky." Just as voiceover man John Cusack says "You just can't stand the idea of being apart," Jeff Tweedy's scathing solo slides into a heartbreaking figure and a guy jumps out of his Jetta. The implicit love triangle between car and girl becomes explicit, as does Wilco's role in the spot. (WATCH)
Most Questionable Ad Songs of 2007
Read more about music-branding at Ad Age's Songs for Soap blog.
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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the 'Ordinary Miracle' song in the CVS spot as being sung by Sarah McLachlan. It was in fact performed by Kathy Fisher.