Seven Examples of Using an Inappropriate Song in a TV Commercial

With physical and digital music sales sliding, artists and music publishers need to find new sources of revenue.  That’s why there’s such a rush by everyone to get songs licensed for things like TV shows, movie soundtracks and, of course, TV commercials. Sometimes, though, you have to wonder about the choices made by ad agencies and advertisers.

I clearly remember scratching my head at Royal Caribbean Cruises’ use of Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” to push their family-friendly excursions. Lest you are unaware of the lyrics to “Lust for Life, they go like this:

Here comes Johnny Yen again
With the liquor and drugs
And a flesh machine
He’s gonna do another strip tease

Johnny Yen is a character from an William S. Burroughs Novel called The Ticket That Exploded.  It contains plenty of references to drugs, liquor, stripteases and, er, hypnotizing chickens, as does the song.  Note, however, the clever edit at about 28 seconds into the TV commercial.

With that edit, it seems that the song celebrates one’s, well, lust for life.  However, when you look at the context of the entire song, it’s probably not a good fit with a family-friendly cruise line.

Greggory points to six more examples of songs via Cracked that, when you really think about it, turn out to be rather inappropriate as soundtracks for commercials.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37439 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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