30 Seconds to Mars, "Kings and Queens"
Because out of all the songs that could've been used to score a generic beach ad, Sunkist had to pick a screamo-pop song performed by Jared Leto.
Frances England, "Blueberry Pancakes"
Bisquick Blueberry Pancakes
This song was not, as far as anyone knows, written for a blueberry pancake ad. Singer Frances England wrote the lyrics "Flip 'em up high/blueberries in the sky" because she genuinely wanted to express her fondness for flapjacks. We'll be drizzling ours in whiskey to get them down next time.
Train, "Hey Soul Sister"
We could've singled out virtually any marketer for egregious use of the most played-out song of the year, but Samsung gets extra demerits for being the most ubiquitous. For more ad appearances of this year's "I Gotta Feeling," go to StopAdvertisingFromPullingATrain.tumblr.com.
There's really not much to say about this spot, which takes the "classic" dance jam from Los Del Rio and revamps it with new "lyrics" about the famous blanket with sleeves. Handling vocals are what we believe are the less-talented younger siblings of the Kidz Bop children, who throw themselves into the task with the abandon of people whose apparel allows them the freedom of motion to play Foosball and revisit regrettable '90s dance crazes.
"Shake Up Christmas"
And while we're at it, Coke doesn't score any originality points for tapping Train to sing its holiday campaign, either.
James Mann, "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag"
As with so many ill-fated ad songs this year, this one features the ukulele, 2010's music supervisor instrument of choice for expressing schmaltz (see Train's entry). But that alone is not enough to make this list. No, for that, you have to update the WWI ditty "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag" with enough high-fructose corn syrup to make a Slurpee blush, all to push laptops.
Wyclef Jean, "17 (Original Remix)"
It just wasn't Wyclef Jean's year. Not only was he thwarted in his attempt to run for president of Haiti, he also appeared in this "block party" for Ritz -- perhaps the most groan-inducing commercial to appear in movie theaters since Fanta's Fantanas.
Vampire Weekend, "Holiday"
We're really not looking to tear into Vampire Weekend (see Best Ads), because they're generally a good band, and "Holiday" is/was a good song. But it's now playing in this Hilfiger Christmas campaign, and Honda has unfortunately decided it's also a great tune for its holiday spot.
While we're just as thrilled as any longtime fan that Phoenix finally struck it big last year, we wish Madison Avenue would find another song to score its fast-car/gadget/fall TV season ads already. It appeared in ads by everyone from Cadillac SRX to the iPod Shuffle and more highlight reels at events than we'd care to catalog.
So we're not yet in the market for Cialis. But when we are some day, we can promise you that this unbearable woman, singing awful innuendos and strolling through the yard with, of course, a ukulele, will make us reconsider the merits of love making.
Related: Best Ad Songs of 2010