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Grayson Matthews’s song Toast This Life written for an Alexander Keith’s ad is selling well on iTunes.
Grayson Matthews’s song Toast This Life written for an Alexander Keith’s ad is selling well on iTunes.

Twelve really catchy songs written just for TV ads Add to ...

As marketers strive for an image of authenticity, the classic jingle has fallen out of favour. With the music industry changing, indie bands have become more willing to lend some credibility by licensing snippets of their songs for advertising use. And as that has been on the rise, the music written specifically for ads has also started sounding more like good music.

While it is not new, the trend has gotten to a point where the indie sound has become the norm in advertising; the jingle is the anomaly. Here are some examples of advertising music that belongs as much on SoundCloud and iTunes as it does in a 30-second spot.

Read more in the full story by Susan Krashinsky.

Toast This Life

Advertiser: Alexander Keith’s

Music house: Grayson Matthews

For viewers who went to the Internet to seek out this ad, Keith’s embedded a link in the YouTube video asking, “Like the song?” It then directed people to the Keith’s page on popular music sharing service SoundCloud, where they could listen to the full cut.

 

I Don’t Care if I Ever Come Down

Advertiser: Bell Canada

Composer: Jay McCarrol and Stefanie McCarrol

Music house: Eggplant Collective

The recent ad for the Sony Xperia caused viewers to go to Yahoo message boards and Bell Canada’s Facebook page to ask where they could find a longer version. All the interest has led the brother-sister McCarrol duo to form a new band called Go Bird Go. They have released three songs so far on SoundCloud, including a full version of the Bell ad hit. The band is currently in talks to possibly release an EP.

 

 

[No name]

Advertiser: MasterCard Canada

Composer: Jeen O’Brien

Music house: RMW Music

This track was specifically designed to sound like a “needle drop” from an existing song. Both MasterCard and its ad agency, MacLaren McCann, “have received numerous requests to get a copy of the full-length version,” creative director Cam Boyd said.

“The traditional jingle, extolling the benefits of a product through song blatantly, the consumer's too smart for that,” Mr. Boyd said. “…You need to do more than just a 30-second commercial, and communicate to people these days. We can't just hold up our product anymore and say, ‘Buy this.’ The music is a part of that.”

 

Shadows and Lights

Composer: Mary Milne

Advertiser: Ikea Canada

Music house: Eggplant Collective

The singer wrote the song for this sweet Ikea spot, and it ended up on her album. “It really is like releasing a single – that’s your video,” Rocco Gagliese, a partner and music producer at Eggplant Collective, said of an ad’s ability to confer buzz on the musician who writes for it.

 

Where I’m From

Advertiser: Molson Canadian

Music house: Grayson Matthews

This campaign attempts to capture Canadians’ hard-partying reputation, and required a party song to go with it.

 

Best Year

Advertiser: Sears Canada

Music house: Grayson Matthews

After the ad aired, the song actually got some radio play on stations such as CHUM FM in Toronto.

 

Hands in My Pocket

Advertiser: Capital One Canada

Composer: Jim Guthrie

Music House: Rosnick MacKinnon Webster (now RMW Music)

The 2005 ad generated so much discussion that writer Jim Guthrie cut a full version of the song. It was picked up in other ways as well: A spoof was used in a Rick Mercer Report sketch and the song was picked up for use in viral videos criticizing the federal Liberal Party.

 

 

[No name]

Advertiser: Crystal Light Canada

Music House: Pirate Toronto

Crystal Light’s “Weird, Wonderful You” campaign was designed specifically to appeal to younger women, which is why the music in the commercial had to have an authentic feel.

 

Only You

Advertiser: All-Bran

Music House: Grayson Matthews

“The writer received a lot of press about it, and the music house had the aptitude to do it on their own,” said Cam Boyd, group creative director at ad agency MacLaren McCann, of this commercial that he worked on a few years ago when he was employed at Leo Burnett.

 

Rollercoaster

Band: Major Maker

Advertiser: Maynards Candy

Music House: Pirate Toronto

After the Maynards Candy ad was released, the band that wrote the song for the commercial unexpectedly got their break from it. Maynards received numerous inquiries about the song, and its popularity led the band to make a full version for sale on iTunes – as well as to release an EP to take advantage of the buzz.

 

One True You

Advertiser: Kellogg’s Canada (Rice Krispies)

Music House: Grayson Matthews

The ad started out with more of an instrumental score, but the music house and the ad agency together decided to “take more of a song approach” to heighten the emotion, said Dave Sorbara of Grayson Matthews.

“[We] also wanted to try to get some memorability to it, which hooky melodies and vocals can often do so well,” he said.

 

Girls Like Us

Composer: Greta Gaines

Advertiser: espnW

The song went through about seven versions, from punk to orchestral, before the client was happy with it. But since the ad came out, it has been so well-received that Ms. Gaines decided to record a full version. Unlike many other artists who get a boost from having their song in an ad, however, she did not toss it on to iTunes; she sold the longer track to the company for $20,000. ESPN is now free to use that track as it pleases, whether in giveaways of song downloads to fans, or to play at greater length during televised events such as the WNBA championships. Their plans for the song are now in discussion, Ms. Gaines said.

As the economics of the music industry has changed, more musicians have opened up to the idea of licensing their songs for ads, or composing new music for commercials.

I would love to continue to make a living as a writer and a composer, and this is one of the only ways to do it if you don’t want to be out touring your album, which I don’t want to do any more,” said Ms. Gaines, who has two children, aged seven and nine. “I’ve been a professional musician for over 20 years.…All musicians will tell you this. [Touring,] that’s no life for a grownup.”

Follow on Twitter: @susinsky

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