Music Makes the Ad

Advertising is supposed to be an emotional experience, you aren’t selling just a product, you are selling a better life through your product. The Adman’s job is to convince you that the person you want to be is on the other end of this exchange. And nothing drives home a shiny new image faster than the music chosen to lend atmosphere to a commercial.

As The Ad Storytime heads into our fall lineup, I’m planning on using our Friday’s together to explore commercials that have used music to their best advantage as well as our usual highlights of specific ads that have caught my fancy.

For example, this beautiful ad for Volkswagen’s Cabriolet from 1999 featuring Nick Drake’s haunting “Pink Moon.”

Called “Milky Way” this is considered one of the best commercials of all time, and not one word is ever said by any actor. The song perfectly frames a dreamy, sepia-toned evening among friends who realize they have found a fragile peace together.  The car is barely shown except through brief glimpses of moonlight but it perfectly states its message: it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the voyage.

Thanks to the popularity of this commercial, “Pink Moon” shot to number five on Amazon’s top sellers list shortly after the ad began airing, nearly 30 years after the song was first released! Furthermore, it helped settle a long held debate among ad nerds: does popular music have a place in advertising? If chosen wisely and done with care the answer is a shouting “Heck yeah!!”

Volkswagen started giving Cabriolet buyers CD** compilations of songs they have used in their commercials, which is now the only thing I want for Christmas.

What commercials do you think have rocked great music? Let me know in the comments  below or on Aunt Mary’s Facebook page!

For previous Ad Stories that talk about music check out:

I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke

Khakis Swing

**Millennials, please tell me I don’t have to explain what a CD is!


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