Starbucks "Glen"

Published on .

Most Popular
Ears and eyes get a serious pick-me-up with Fallon/N.Y.'s new broadcast work for Starbucks, featuring various office drones who come to life after dosing up on the coffeemakers' caffeinated elixirs. Most notably, the agency hit a musical bull's-eye with the Noam Murro-directed "Glen." The spot resurrects iconic '80s rock gods Survivor, who perform their Rocky III hit "Eye of the Tiger" with lyrics hilariously switched up to reflect Starbucks' motivational powers on a white collared hero with aspirations for middle management. Just as Glen takes a sip of the coffee maker's DoubleShot, a familiar guitar intro kicks in and Survivor's band members appear on site, chanting his name to the tune's unforgettable opening notes and "serenading" him during his morning commute. "We had other spots that dealt with music, like an idea with Iggy Pop that never got off the ground," notes Fallon ECD Ari Merkin. "But this felt like a natural for the product, which is what I like to call 'liquid motivation.' The idea of using Survivor just transcended any of the other ideas. Survivor was an idea unto itself because they are the kings of motivational rock and the association with Rocky is a memorable one." Indeed, Survivor's classic is a sure fit, its inspirational message and nostalgic ammo converging in perfect harmony with the spot's concept and humor. The musical execution itself also shines for its impeccable production, which comes as no surprise since the band's leader Frankie Sullivan, who wrote the original tune, spent a lot of time tweaking every little bit. Before the shoot, Sullivan created a scratch track, dipping into his "Eye of the Tiger" masters and bringing in lead singer Jim Jamison to rerecord the agency's lyrics. (Sullivan even added his own voice to the "Glens" to lend more impact to the opener). During the final mix, the admittedly meticulous Sullivan smoothed out any bumps in the edit. So how did the band feel about lending their tune to java? "There were a couple things they wanted me to change but they just let me do my thing, which was really unusual because people I know in the record industry had told me the advertising world is kind of a nightmare," says Sullivan. "They gave me all kinds of leeway so I felt like I was basically producing a record for Universal Music or Sony." In retrospect, "The ultimate goal is to sell product," he reflects. "The fact of the matter is, we're selling a brand. It's not about Survivor, it's about Starbucks." The spot was such a hit that when it opened the Pepsi bottlers' convention in Las Vegas earlier this year (Pepsi is in a partnership with Starbucks), it roused the audience to a standing ovation, at 7:30 am to boot. To top it off, immediately after, the curtain lifted to reveal the rockers themselves, who treated the audience to a double shot with a performance of the original tune. (Ann-Christine Diaz)
In this article: