Deutsch Taps Unsigned Band for Sheraton

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Sheraton: Let's spend the night together.
Speaking of music, Deutsch/New York conducted what amounts to a mini-version of American Idol to find the band that appears in its new Sheraton Hotels campaign. The effort aims to reinvigorate the brand and "give people the idea that something new is happening" at Sheraton, Deutsch group CD Evelyn Neill explains. "The brand itself is pretty iconic. At the same time, it's a brand that hasn't spoken to us in a long time." The tough task was to find a band that could carry off a cover of the Rolling Stones classic "Let's Spend the Night Together," and then star in the spot, which was directed by Smuggler's James Brown as an antic homage to A Hard Day's Night. "We took a big swing," Neill says. "We had this idea of remixing of song with a tremendous amount of heritage. We really wanted to do a version of the song that paid homage to the original but also had intergrity on its own."

A search, conducted by Santa Monica's Ten Music, turned up 150 contenders, but the job eventually fell to a rootsy San Diego band called Convoy. Although the quintet is wildly popular in its hometown -- and has shared stages with the likes of Tom Petty and the White Stripes -- Convoy isn't exactly a household name. Their second album, Black Licorice, was released by Hybrid in 2001, but never really broke through. They have since split with the label. For the Stones' cover, they worked with producer Rob Schnapf, known for his collaborations with Moby, Guided By Voices and the Foo Fighters, among others. Neill says the agency was drawn to Schnapf by his work with the Vines on a cover of the Beatles' "I'm Only Sleeping" for the I Am Sam soundtrack.

The result definitely makes for one of the more exuberant hotel commercials you'll ever see, but what happens to the song? According to the band's manager Steve Hutton, the unsigned band is currently working on their third album. "Obviously, getting that kind of exposure is a great thing," he says of the commercial. "But the music is going to ultimately have to do the talking."

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