Top 20 Greatest Ever Songs From Ads

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Song ads, Guinness, Levis, Os Mutantes, Sony, Flat EricAdvertising – it’s the easiest job in the world.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but coming up with a successful advert is not exactly brain surgery. Bit of sex, a lot of humour and a cracking song and you could sell vomit-coloured shoes to even the most discerning of fashion shoppers. We like to think we are immune to such obvious marketing tricks, but we’re not.

Tampons are not exactly a regular on my shopping list. But give me an ad featuring Anna Friel in a skimpy top dancing to the Pixies or some cracking Motown track and it won’t be long before I’ll be queuing up for my sanitary towel fix.

That’s because good music works – it can make even the most insufferably tedious and boring things appear cool. Just look at Michael Stipe. But which are your favourites? Which advert tracks had you rushing to the shops, only to come away scratching your head over why you actually bought the crappy item?

The kind that leaves you scouring the iTunes just so you didn’t have to endure countless more advertising breaks in the hope of hearing it again. But getting the right track can be sometimes troublesome. Trying to flog any old piece of crap by sticking a half-decent track from The Beatles or Rolling Stones on the advert is not a guaranteed win, which kind of disproves my earlier point, but whatever.

Anyway, here at hecklerspray we have compiled our favourites. Just to clarify, we don’t mean advert ditties – we are talking about proper song tracks. Feel free to let us know what you think – not that you need any encouragement! Enjoy!

20. A Minha Menina by Os Mutantes
Advert: McDonald’s


Great song by one of the world’s greatest ever bands, and an important message as well – gorging yourself silly on mechanically-reclaimed meat is better than exercise. That is the point of the ad, isn’t it?

19. Flat Beat by Mr Oizu
Advert: Levis Sta-Prest trousers


Yes, it got annoying quickly. But that was only because everyone else loved it as much as you did.

18. Pink Moon by Nick Drake
Advert: Volkswagen


Foolish Nick Drake. Would he have killed himself if he knew that one day he’d be advertising German cars from beyond the grave? Almost certainly not.

17. Another Girl, Another Planet - The Only Ones
Advert: Vodafone


Hey, we need a song to advertise free weekend telephone calls for kids. What should the song be about? Debilitating heroin addiction? BINGO! Good job the song’s so brilliant, really.

16. Heart Attack and Vine by Screaming Jay Hawkins
Advert: Levi jeans


Who finds the best songs to use in adverts? Levis. Apart from when they used Babylon Zoo, obviously. Remember Babylon Zoo? No? OK, never mind.

15. Slow Hands by Interpol
Advert: Armani


Good song, stylish brand and, oh, Josh Hartnett. Oh Armani, you were so close.

14. Can’t Seem to Make You Mine by The Seeds
Advert: Lynx Bullet Advert


A song so good it almost makes us want to buy impractically small canisters of schoolboy deodorant. Almost.

13. Beggin’ by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (remix)
Advert: Adidas

An advert featuring a remix of a Frankie Valli song and starring The Ting Tings that isn’t overwhelmingly horrible? Goodness.

12. Phat Planet by Leftfield
Advert: Guinness


Never bettered, by Guinness or Leftfield. Or humanity, for that matter.

11. Just Another Diamond Day by Vashti Bunyan
Advert: T-Mobile


If you listen to this song and then throw yourself off a building, the ground will go soft and you almost definitely won’t die. Although we’re legally required to tell you that you must never, ever, try it. Ever.

10. Strange and Beautiful by Aqualung
Advert: Volkswagen


The answer to the question ‘What song should advertise our advert now that Radiohead have repeatedly turned us down?’

9. Little Less Conversation, by Elvis vs JXL
Advert: Nike


Tick follows tock follows tick follows… oh, sorry, wrong advert. Anyway, Wiltord – one of the world’s best football players? Really?

8. Cover version of Joy Division’s Ceremony
Advert: Absolut

Marvellous retweaking of a marvellous song. End.

7. Heart of Glass, by Blondie
Advert: Next


Classic song and beautiful girls. Shallow? Us?

6. I Just Want To Make Love To You by You by Etta James
Advert: Diet Coke


A bunch of women getting excited about a man who drinks Diet Coke as a matter of choice. Something tells us they’re barking up the wrong tree.

5. Venus in Furs by The Velvet Underground
Advert: Pirelli


Annoyingly, this advert doesn’t seem to be anywhere on the internet. But it was excellent and the song was good and the man who directed it also made American History X, so shut up.

4. I Heard It Through The Grapevine, by Marvin Gaye
Advert: Levi jeans

Very possibly the most dated thing in the universe. But, God, that song

3. Tame by Pixies
Advert: Smirnoff


We like The Pixies. Did we ever mention that?

2. Inside by Stiltskin
Advert: Levi 501


Almost made us like Stiltskin, this, until we heard any other Stiltskin music. Good ad, though.

1. Heartbeats, by The Knife
Sony Bravia

The perfect marriage of audio and visual. The end.

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Comments

  1. Lee says

    Not quite the same I know, but the use of Radiohead’s “Nude” in the trailer for the second series of Skins was completely inspired and had me gagging to see it – the series 1 cliffhanger of whether main character Tony was dead or not was brilliantly hinted at:

    http://www.vimeo.com/3296164

  2. Carey says

    The question poser for Aqualung ‘Strange and Beautiful’ is wrong. It should read: The answer to the question ‘What song should advertise our advert now that The Eels have repeatedly turned us down?’ is Aqualung ‘Strange and Beautiful’. The song in question was The Eels ‘Beautiful Freak’ which Volkswagen wanted to use for the new shape Beetle

  3. Airam says

    You missed out some really great catchy tunes!

    I can’t believe you missed out the Honda ‘hate something change something’ advert!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTdMDZth8SU

    Seriously, when I first heard this, it got stuck in my head for about 3 weeks!!

    And what about The Molloys – Meet You There from the Richmond sausage advert!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw-H8ZtZEiw

    whole song:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsseTQ3QKUU&list=FLFmHdoxH-Ka4zTINUbETrfQ&index=22&feature=plpp_video

    Just thought people should know…

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