September 20, 2008

Call them offensive, overbearing, intrusive, subversive, anything but innocuous. They are TV commercials that use songs,which either make me happy or angry every time I see them.

As a songwriter/publisher I know the importance of the income from commercials to the bottom line, as long as it doesn’t compromise the integrity of the song. I smile every time I hear a mop or a broom sing Player’s, “Baby, Come Back”,  to a housewife who has defected to Swiffer Sweepers.
I feel all fuzzy watching people eating margarine, low in chloresterol, to the tune of “Put A Little Love In Your Heart”, and I fight the urge to shave my legs, when I watch “Venus” and “Short Shorts” ads.

I groove to Chris Brown’s remake of the classic Doublemint gum jingle, and drool to “Dancing With The Stars”, Julliane Hough’s, Juicy Fruit Video!

Then I see the new series of ads for Target, with the Jonas Brothers, singing the Beatle’s “Hello. Goodbye”, and the hair on the back of my neck starts to bristle. It’s isn’t hard to figure out the appeal of using a familiar song to grab someone’s attention, but it’s important how it’s used or it could have a negative impact, and damage the value of the song forever.

Take “Viva Viagra”…please. If my late friends, Doc Pomus and Morty Shuman, who wrote “Viva Las Vegas”, were alive today, I’m sure they would be amused by the lyric, but I doubt if they would have ever given permission for it to be used.

When I see the Seabond ad for denture adhesive using one of my favorite oldies, “Bye, Bye Love”, with new lyrics that include, “Bye Bye, ooziness”, I fight throwing my bong at the TV! In the early ’70s Del Bryant (now the President of BMI), brought his songwriter father, Boudleaux Bryant (“Bye, Bye Love”, “Wake Up Little Susie”, “Dream”) over to my house to discuss some lyrics I wanted to change in his classic, “Let’s Think About Livin”, and produce with one of my artists.

I sang him the changes I had in mind, which included references to the movie of the year, “Jaws”. He smiled and said he liked it, then he gave me permission to use my changes (without credit or royalty), but not before he said emphatically, “I’ve never given permission to anyone to change any of my songs, but you have maintained the integrity of the song.” I doubt that if he were alive today, that he would allow his lyric to be desecrated in that Seabond commercial.

Finally, the one that really gets to me the most, is the Barclay’s ad that features “What The World Needs Now Is Love”. Maybe it’s because the song has such a strong significance for me. It was a song my friend, Jackie DeShannon, sang to me from the  studio as she was recording it, after I had open heart surgery. 

One of the most inspiring songs ever written has now been reduced by Barclay’s Bank and investments to this.

What The World Needs Now is clarity

A little tax efficiency and much more transparency

What The World Needs Now is fresh ideas

More complete advice and shelter from all the nonsense.”

WTF…I can’t believe my pals from the past, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, would push their copyright to the point of extinction, but somebody has. Maybe it’s a greedy publisher, who sometimes has the right to change lyrics at his discretion, depending on the original contract the writer signed.

Anyway, I’ve listed the URLs to commercials I’ve talked about. Like the kids say, “Some are buck…while the others suck!” You can figure out which is which.


Copyright 2008 by Artie Wayne                                 


Swiffer sweepers using “Baby Come Back” by Player


Updated Doublemint Ad with Chris Brown                              


Updated Juicy fruit ad with Julliane Hough                   


 Viva Viagra violating “Viva Las Vegas”                            


 Target using The Jonas Brothers, hellish “Hello, Goodbye”


Seabond adhesive using “Bye, Bye Love”, that’ll knock your teeth out!


Barclay’s Bank brutalizing, “What The World Needs Now”                                              



  1. Tom Diehl Says:

    Well, I work for Target…and i kind of like the version of Hello Goodbye that we use in our ads…. but we also have it in use with the slogan “hello goodbuy”…meaning that you’ll get a good value with your purchase at target….

    However one that has been bugging me is some diaper commercial that uses the Youngbloods’ Get Together…. i saw it on tv while i was in the breakroom at work one day and told my boss, “i dont think that’s what the youngbloods had in mind when they recorded that song”, and he seemed surprised that I knew a song from his era…

  2. TK Says:

    Well I work for Barclays (in England) and I agree the iShares commercial is absolutely unforgivable, especially in the current banking climate… I do love American commercials though, mostly for the fact that half their length is taken up with disclaimers 🙂

  3. Zen wizard Says:

    “I’m Free” by the Rolling Stones for Chase Credit Card.

    Yes, now that I have this 17.99% vigorish that it will take me 20-years to get this bloodsucking leech off my back, I’M FREE.

    The classic is “Lust for Life” by Iggy Pop on Royal Caribbean Cruise.

    “Here comes Johnny Yen again
    With the liquor and the drugs
    And the flesh machine
    He’s gonna do another striptease.”

    Yes, pack your bags, Junior! This sounds like a wholesome family cruise, here…

  4. Zen wizard Says:

    PS–I gotta admit the Swiffer ads are brilliant–especially the one where the broom has a path of roses laid out to the hot tub.

    That is some funny shizz, right there,,,

  5. Chris Says:

    Does anyone care to way in on why the authorship one
    of the most popular pieces of popular advertising
    music has consistently been misrepresented?

    It’s been said that Barry Manilow wrote this Jingle,
    not true… It’s been said that Kenny Karen wrote this
    Jingle, again not true, clearly if you go by his ASCAP
    records there is no such song in his catalog. So why
    then are the actual writers and producers, of one of
    the most successful advert campaigns in history, not
    given proper credit?

    It’s a simple fact that “We’re Together” aka “You
    Deserve A Break Today” aka the “McDonalds Theme” was
    written by Kevin Gavin, Albert Ham, Nathan Kipner and
    Sidneye Woloshin and produced by the Gavin & Woloshin
    Advert team w/Albert Ham. The original television
    vocals were the Hillside Singers (Television) , Barry
    Manilow (Radio/Television) , Jimmy Radcliffe (Radio/

    Hoping to create an equally successful campaign, after
    the initial push with the Hillside Singers, Gavin &
    Woloshin set about the task of producing alternate Pop
    and R&B, as the term “Soul” was now passe, versions.
    All things considered I’d say they accomplished their
    goals and yet for some reason the true creators don’t
    get much kudos, outside the advertising world, to this
    day. For me the importance of the actual story behind
    this classic bit-o-history is obviously about my
    father’s musical legacy… Oh and selling books, but
    also about historic accuracy and giving credit where
    credit is due. Sid Wolshin was a great friend and
    admirer of my fathers and a brilliant songwriter and
    storyteller to me.

    Jimmy Radcliffes R&B version, produced
    3/31/71, is now on YouTube:

    Artie is right! there are some wacky things going on
    in commercial Jingle music uses these days. If you get
    the chance get a copy of Steve Karmen’s book “Who
    Killed The Jingle? – How A Unique American Art Form
    Disappeared” for an amazingly, funny and interesting
    look inside the advert music world by The undisputed
    “King Of The Jingle”.

    Chris Radcliffe

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