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They Chose That? When Songs Don't Quite Go With Commercials


Using porn to sell cereal and other baffling advertising choices

One of the more surprising things we learned in reading the obituaries last week of disco singer Andrea True was that True (born Andrea Truden) wrote her enduring hit "More More More" about her time as an actress in adult films. Another surprise? The song was recently used in commercials for Honey Bunches of Oats cereal.

It's not the first time a song has popped up in a commercial where it seemingly didn't belong. Here are some of our favorite examples:

"More More More (How Do You Like It)" for Honey Bunches of Oats

True's song, which features porno-style lyrics over an upbeat disco song, apparently struck some advertising executive as just the right thing to use to sell cereal.

"Start Me Up" for Microsoft

Another odd choice? Microsoft's decision to use this Rolling Stones number--sample lyric: "You make a grown man cry"--to market its Windows 95 product. Considering the heartache we've known when computers malfunction, it might not be so far off.

"Lust for Life" for Royal Caribbean

Nothing says Let's Take A Wholesome Cruise like a song that references drug dealers, William S. Burroughs and, apparently, motorized dildos. In general it's safe to assume that Iggy Pop is not exactly family friendly.

"Mercedes Benz" for Mercedes-Benz

Sure, most of the rough edges that Janice Joplin was famous for during her lifetime have been worn away by time and nostalgia, but it doesn't take a genius to realize that her song, recorded three days before the singer died, is nothing if not tongue in cheek.

"Pink Moon" for Volkswagen

It might seem a bit odd for the cult-fave English singer-songwriter, who died in 1974 at 26, to be used in a commercial for cute, economical German cars, but "Pink Moon," previously beloved by legions of journal keepers, drove Drake's record sales to levels that they had never before seen.

"How Soon Is Now" for Nissan Maxima

Former Smiths frontman Morrissey is known for being outspoken--and that's a bit of an understatement. He hates meat eaters, he might hate certain groups of people and he certainly hates Madonna, the editors of British music mag NME and the artwork of Damien Hirst. So why did the famously moody crooner allow Nissan to use one of his old band's most famous tunes to hawk mid-level cars? We don't know but we'll close our eyes and listen anyway.

There are a few others that, through cunning or just dumb luck, have been scrubbed from the Internet. Like when H&R Block used the Beatles' "Taxman," which is not entirely complimentary about the profession, and when Swiffer used Blondie's "One Way or Another," about a dangerous stalker, to sell cleaning products. What are your favorites?

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Adam Rathe