Choosing the right music for a commercial is trickier than trying to make out the mumbling lyrics of a Bob Dylan track. You need to find a song that grabs viewers’ attention, sets the mood, and convinces customers that your product is the only one to buy. Or you could do what these brands did and choose the first catchy yet wildly inappropriate tune to pop up on your Spotify playlist…
Apple called and they want your gigantic cock
Apple’s questionable song of choice when it came to selling the iPhone 5S? The Pixies’ “Gigantic.” What’s actually gigantic (besides the device’s price) is a black man’s penis, according to the song. Listen closely to the lyrics and you’ll hear the not-so-subtle ode to schlong.
Geico sells motorcycle insurance with a song made by guys who died riding motorcycles
Geico’s already-creepy ad starring a man literally made of money gets a whole lot creepier when you learn the story behind its accompanying song, “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers. The band’s two founding members both died in motorcycle accidents a year apart from each other. Oops, the researchers must’ve missed that one.
All aboard the heroin cruise
Royal Caribbean cruise line is all about wholesome family fun in the sun. So what better tune to accompany their commercials than Iggy Pop’s iconic rock anthem “Lust for Life,” a song dedicated to the joys of pounding back booze and shooting hard drugs? Don’t forget your syringes, kids.
Drink Castlemaine beer and you can be a cold-hearted killer, too
This surreal spot by Australian beer company Castlemaine Perkins depicts the sun as a magical brewer of mouth-watering ale. And what better song to play over it than the cheery and uplifting “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People? Except for the fact that the song is actually about grabbing a gun and massacring everybody at your school. Mmm, refreshing.
Mercedes-Benz posthumously pisses off Janis Joplin
In 1997, Mercedes-Benz aired an ad where an entire city sings the opening verse to Janis Joplin’s mega-hit sharing the car giant’s company name. Apparently they overlooked the fact that the track wasn’t paying tribute to their over-priced luxury vehicles at all, but was actually a satirical political statement on the pitfalls of consumerism and people wanting to drive fancy cars. Not cool, Mercedes. Not cool.