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Music Blog: The Hip Factor

Advertisers are getting into the indie/alternative scene by incorporating music from bands like Vampire Weekend, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and The Go! Team. It’s either that or they have decided that this is the way to appear hip to the possible costumers. Ever since the incessant repetition of Feist’s “1 2 3 4” in the Apple commercials, I’ve been noticing more and more advertisers using this technique. More evidence points to this “hip” theory in that all of the products being sold are directed at either a younger generation of twenty-something’s, or an older generations conflicted with mid-life-crisis.

Cadillac used the song “1901” by Phoenix in a 2009 car commercial. The car in the commercial is an SRX and they describe the car as sleek and re-defined. Cadillac’s display techniques paired with this song demonstrate that they want to depict the SRX as a trendy car. Honda used this same technique with a CRV this year. The song they chose was “Rescue Song” by Mr. Little Jeans. The car is shown, as always, shiny and smooth through the winter, spring, fall and summer seasons. Honda has done this previously with a 2007 commercial for the Civic featuring The Go! Team’s song “Huddle Formation.” This commercial is one that really appeals to that “trendsetter” theme because of the editing and the layout of the video. The song was clearly an addition element to the theme to make people believe that driving a Honda Civic is hip and cool (I mean, I have one and it is.)

Not only car commercials use these indie/alternative songs in their advertisements. The new Mountain Dew commercial has “Swimsuits” by The Cool Kids featuring Mayer Hawthorne as their song. The Cool Kids are an underground hip-hop duo and Mayer Hawthorne is a soulful R&B singer reminiscent of the Detroit Motown movement. The ad features young people biking, cliff diving and other crazy outdoor activities while drinking Mountain Dew. The main point of the commercial is clearly to portray Mountain Dew as a trendy product. Verizon did this back in 2007 with the Feist song, “My Moon, My Man” when the chocolate phone came out. This was represented the phone as sleek and savvy with the added bonus of an alternative rock song to give it more stylish flair.

Not only is the use of these songs in commercials a great advertising technique that helps appeal to the product’s stylish side, but they also give way to a lot of hype for these artists. They’re all amazing songs that deserve to be recognized. These types of commercials even had people without much musical knowledge dying to know their names. That’s why I put together this playlist of the songs I’ve mentioned above, in addition to other songs that you’re sure to recognize from commercials.

  1. “1 2 3 4” by Feist
  2. “1901” by Phoenix
  3. “Rescue Song” by Mr. Little Jeans
  4. “Huddle Formation” by The Go! Team
  5. “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap
  6. “Swimsuits” by The Cool Kids ft. Mayer Hawthorne
  7. “My Moon, My Man” by Feist
  8. “Bruises” by Chairlift
  9. “Technologic” by Daft Punk
  10. “Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex” by CSS
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