British television has some pretty fucked up TV commercials (see my previous blogs regarding the Cadbury and Orangina ads), but i must say they sure use some good music. i don't know if it's a lot cheaper to license famous songs for use on television in England than it is in the United States or what, but classic hit songs and new discoveries are everywhere on British TV.
for example, right now there's a Renault car ad that uses the Rolling Stones classic "I'm Free" (not the later, well-known cover version by the Soup Dragons) and there's an Andrex toilet paper ad using Aretha Franklin's "Respect." now, i'm not exactly sure what respecting women has to do with toilet tissue, unless they want women to respect their butts by buying plush toilet paper, but hey -- still a good song.
in the lesser-known-but-really-cool category there's Muller's yogurt using Nina Simone's "Ain't Got No, I Got Life" -- a pretty random oldie, i think. and again, not sure what a Nina Simone version of a classic from the musical "Hair" has to do with cups of yogurt, but it's a lot more cool than some of the junk you get on American TV. also, from the funky-ass era of the 1970s we get Ernie K Doe's "Here Come The Girls" used in a Boots drugstore ad -- my current personal fave.
there's also the occasional commercial that uses really good music by someone you've never heard of. a good example of this is Orange mobile phone provider's spot using "Hummingbird" by Born Ruffians. after seeing that advert a number of times i really wanted to know what the song was and tracked it down on Google. i then bought the band's CD on iTunes. perhaps the iTunes sales are what's allowing such good music to be used in ads for things other than giants like Nike and Apple who can afford to use any music they want. being in a commercial almost guarantees an increase in CD sales.
lately i've also heard the Five Satins' "In the Still of the Night" used in Dreams mattress store ads, not to mention Kool and The Gang's "Ladies' Night" advertising an online bingo site. there's an unusual ad for a Citroen car that uses MC Lita's cover of "Stayin' Alive" under a visual of a Transformer-like robot dancing down a New York City-syle street mimicking the infamous John Travolta strut (the robot turns into a Citroen car at the end). it's a pretty cool ad, as car ads go, though it's strange that a European car ad takes place in New York when they don't even SELL that car in America.
i have to admit that even when using current pop songs, British TV adverts (that's what they call them in England -- "adverts") are hitting the nail on the head. there's a terribly catchy use of the Scouting For Girls song "She's So Lovely" in the Next.co.uk shopping website ad. it's already an over-played hit song over here but i don't mind hearing it on TV for some reason -- i suppose it's a catchy tune.
i'll see which of these commercials i can find on Youtube and will stick some above and below here for you Americans to enjoy.