Monday, October 22, 2007

Bob Dylan's turn to take advantage of Cadillac

This might turn into a bit of a rant. Some of you may know that I (sort of, indirectly) make car commercials for a living. So when I heard today that Cadillac's agency just paid Bob Dylan God knows how much money to be in an Escalade ad, I was shocked at their stupidity.

This is not about Bob Dylan selling out. In fact, I'm sure he's laughing all the way to the bank. I bet he thinks it's funny that the broken Detroit auto industry, which used to be the perfect symbol of the Rich Corporate White Man (see: Roger & Me) is now leaning on a rascal like him to help them sell cars.

Here's why I don't think it's funny: Leo Burnett in Detroit did Cadillac's ads for 75 years before they lost the account to Modernista in Boston. Why did they lose it? In my opinion, it was because they made the ill-fated decision to pay Led Zeppelin an exorbitant amount of money in 2002 to license a song. In order to offset the cost, Leo Burnett had to use that song in their commercials for years. It got pretty stale. Meanwhile, Modernista was doing pretty cool things with the Hummer brand...and Detroit watched another auto account fly out the window.

I think music in commercials should be used to create an atmosphere and that's all. VW does this really well. If you've never seen the Pink Moon spot they did for their convertible a few years back, here it is:

What do you guys think about music in commercials? Does it make you lose respect for the artist? Or are there some commercials you like just for the music?

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