Ad Songs That Didn't Make the Cut

Runners-Up From Our Book of Tens List

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For the second year in a row, we had the privilege of compiling our favorite ad songs of the year in the Ad Age Book of Tens, which hit newsstands -- or, more likely, your mailbox/inbox -- today. All in all, it was a pretty good year, and, for us, sports spots really hit the mark for some reason.

We have a pretty loose criteria for these things, but taste and creativity rank pretty highly, and we give bonus points when brands help to break artists we like. Yet there were still plenty that didn't make the cut for various reasons, most of which are unarguably idiosyncratic, so we've put together the runners-up who just barely lost out and some of the things we've said about them in the past. In no particular order:

  • Menomena - "Weird"
    "For the spot, Mountain Dew eschewed art-pop band Menomena's unsettling original version of "Weird" from their last (awesome) album for a recent Dekoder remix that draws out the sinister vibes into something even more menacing."
  • Depeche Mode - "Enjoy the Silence" -
    "For Sony Ericsson's W890 Walkman phone, Saatchi & Saatchi, Stockholm, hired out Plan8, Stockholm, to reinterpret the song and maybe provide some elasticity for the unabashedly amateur karaoke performances by the kids in the ad."
  • Brendan Benson - "What I'm Looking For"
    Mike Tunnicliffe: "The latest iPod commercial hit the screens last week, and it features the music of Brendan Benson, who is a member of The Raconteurs, a collaboration with Jack White of The White Stripes. The song 'What I'm Looking For' from his last solo album was also used in a Sears commercial last year."
  • Sufjan Stevens - "Lift Up Your Head"
    This ad for the EPA has "clever little animations but an unfortunately amateur-sounding voiceover. We like it anyway. Course, not as much as we like federally mandated higher fuel efficiency standards (hint hint)!"
  • Simple Kid - "Lil King Kong"
    "This is a trippy psych-pop tune -- about what, we're not sure -- which sports a Beck-inspired kitchen sink approach that borrows banjo and classic hip-hop beats in equal proportion."
  • Spank Rock - "Bump"
    "Now that Wishbone is using "Bump" by Spank Rock, the Best Week Ever blog wonders whether salad dressing makers have found their perfect audience: hipsters ... It's a cute idea, but chances are it's a case of the nuts taking over the insane asylum -- in a good way, of course."
  • Marc Bianchi - "Sleepy Tigers"
    "The charming 'Sleepy Tigers,' from Bianchi's forthcoming 'The New Kid Revival' LP, is featured in this new stop-motion Sun-Rype spot created by DDB that appears to be composed entirely of actual fruit."
  • Karen Ann - "Lay Your Head Down"
    "We're sorry to point out the obvious, but Ann was born in Israel and raised in Paris just like -- yes, we'll say it -- Yael Naim, and if Apple hasn't had enough of the folksy females, maybe we'll hear her in the iPhone G3 ads sure to come out soon."
  • El Perro Del Mar - "Coming Down the Hill"
    "Kudos to MacLaren McCann, Toronto, for picking such a dreamy, wafting tune like "Coming Down the Hill," but it's still a little perplexing."
  • Radiohead - "House of Cards"
    "Keep in mind that Radiohead isn't indie, but we always feel a little tickled to see hip, stridently un-macho bands with their songs in sports commercials."