Saturn's Trippy Vue

Automaker Goes for 'Less Subtle' Approach, Licenses Tune From Psych-Pop Band

By Published on .

Artist: Simple Kid
Song: "Lil' King Kong"
Marketer: Saturn
Simple Kid - 2 - Lil' King Kong
Let's digress right away and ask one question: What the hell is going on in this Saturn spot? It seems like some variation on the familiar "magic liquid" concept, we suppose, with a car in place of a high-fructose cola. But still ... what are we watching? As the Vue drives through town, everything turns into cartoons like there's vaporized methamphetamines pouring from the exhaust pipe and we all just cleared our sinuses with a mouthful of horseradish left over from our Saturday Seder. Okay, we get the power lines turning into cartoon trees cause the car is a hybrid, but why does the dog sprout a sunflower around it's head like a dilophosaurus?

Whew. We feel better now. Anyway, it features the song "Lil' King Kong," from Yep Roc band Simple Kid, which we like very much. Don't expect some updated version of Daniel Johnston's a capella classic "King Kong," though. 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. It may have been a massive alt-radio hit if it had emerged about ten years ago.

So really, it's about as goofy and psychedelic as the visuals. According to Businessweek, Saturn has decided to ditch the subtlety of their "Rethink" ads from last year, which featured the song "Higher" by Soundcage and comparisons between Lance Armstrong and stereotypical body builders. Sales after that campaign didn't meet goals, and now Deutsch is attempting a more obvious (!) approach this time, which includes "Lil' King Kong," a song Chief Creative Officer Eric Hirshberg describes as much "sweeter and positive-sounding soundtrack" than its predecessor.
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