Monday, January 25, 2021

Ad love

It seems the car ads have been plundering the Golden Age of Soul recently. We are all familiar by now with the Mercedes ad which features a fairly obscure (but great) B side of his from 1966. Now VW are getting in on the act with their latest Golf GTI ad (at least I think it is a new ad).

The VW ad had me reaching for Shazam on my phone but my daughter beat me to it. “King Floyd” she informed me. “Ah, I might have that”, I said. Thanks to these lockdowns I now have all the singles I own recorded in 45Cat, so I quickly checked and, sure enough, it told me I did have a copy of it. The song in the ad didn't ring a bell though. It was an A side, of King Floyd's second Chimneyville 45 released back in 1971. It became clear why I didn't recognise it when I saw that Please Don't Leave Me Lonely was the B side, and I remember buying this 45 for that song. Clearly I gave the A side little attention at the time.

It often intrigues me why, and how, the ad people select the music for their ads. The Mercedes ad I can understand - the title, also the lyric, Just The One I've Been Looking For fits with just about anything you are trying to promote, and would also be easy to look up. It's vintage sound might also be seen to appeal to the older, and therefore possibly more affluent, generation. (It certainly made me pay attention the first time I heard it, and it continues to do so now).

The King Floyd track on the VW ad is not so obvious a choice though. The title Baby Let Me Kiss You, and featured lyrics, are more abstract. (There is also a line in the song that goes don't stop it now baby, I might lose your vibrations which I don't think is featured in the ad, and quite right too as a vibration is one “feature” you definitely don't want in a new car). The ad also includes visual references to other types of new technology, and I would say a Golf GTI is probably aimed at a younger driver. So using a 50 year old record might seem a bit odd. But then those target drivers are probably more likely to be hipsters and into their vinyl and be “soul boys” (although, arguably, that demographic is old hat now). The ad people might say it's the juxtaposition though, and using an unfamiliar record might make people prick their ears up and pay attention.

I am fascinated to know how the VW ad people homed in on this particular song. In fact did they even seek it out, or were they pushed it by the copyright owning company? And who might that company be? For example Hipgnosis Songs Fund is a recently launched company, co owned by Nile Rodgers I believe, who are buying up lots of song catalogs right now. In a six month period last year they spent $670 million on catalogs from the likes of Blondie, Rick James, and Barry Manilow. Universal Music was also in the news recently when it bought Bob Dylan's songwriting catalog. Song royalties are big business now.

The ad will probably inflate the price of a copy of this King Floyd 45 too. Plenty available on Discogs for peanuts at the moment, although none in the UK it seems, so not so cheap if you factor in the postage nowadays. I've been looking for a copy of the Johnnie Taylor 45 for some time now. Again that was a $5 record until the ad appeared, now they seem to be like gold dust, and one Discogs seller is trying his luck at the moment – he wants $175 for a VG copy!

King Floyd – Baby Let Me Kiss You 1971

And the killer side, in my opinion

King Floyd – Please Don't Leave Me Lonely 1971


George said...

"And the killer side, in my opinion"
You're not wrong there

drew said...

I have wondered for ages how they pick the tunes for ads ever since the use of Come On Train for that weird Barclay Card ad had no idea what it had to do with it.

Dorothy Moore does a great version of Just the One I've Been looking For.

david said...

Hey Darcy. I wanted to ask you a music related question about Cal Waymon and an old post of yours.

I don't see a way to email you directly. Could you email me?

Thank you!

naguiar2003 said...

Where are you Darcy? We miss you and your posts with great music always. Hope you're OK. Regards from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Darcy said...

Thanks for the comment and concern Amaury. I am fine thanks. I know I have been very quiet here this year. I have been meaning to start posting again for some weeks now but never quite get around to it (Lockdown induced inertia is my only explanation). Hopefully your comment will spur me into action in the next few days! (I certainly have a growing stack of 45s to share!).