5 Current Artists Launched by Advertising

June 20, 2016

Posted in: Music, Advertising

Popular music and advertising have been intimately linked for as long as the two mediums have existed. Advertisers love using their consumers’ favorite bands to stir up positive feelings about a product. Often, the formula is simple – check out the Billboard charts and see who’s selling – then offer the artist a boatload of money for the song.
But starting in the early 2000s, the “indie” label rose to prominence as something to which listeners – and consumers – felt a strong connection. Instead of licensing the current number one track, advertisers attempted to get ahead of the audience and break the next big artist. In many cases, the plan could not have gone better.
Here are some examples of artists whose hard work paid off in the form of a breakthrough ad spot.
Ingrid Michaelson – Old Navy Natalie Sweater
Ingrid Michaelson, along with Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz, exploded onto the scene in the mid-2000s and defined a new generation of singer-songwriters, whose influences are still heard in music and advertising today (ukulele and glockenspiel, anyone?). Her song “The Way I Am” is featured in this Old Navy spot, which led to platinum sales of her album “Girls and Boys.” Side note: this placement also led to an astonishing 16 placements on Grey’s Anatomy.
Fun – Chevrolet Sonic
Fun had already gained decent exposure through a performance of their song “We Are Young” on the show Glee, but it was this Chevy spot, aired during the Super Bowl, that launched the band into the stratosphere. Fun’s album, “Some Nights” promptly went platinum.
Feist – Apple iPod Nano
It’s hard to pick just one artist that Apple broke onto the scene via advertising, some people calling Apple “the Oprah of indie music.” Feist’s career was jumpstarted with a memorable placement of “1234” in an iPod ad – just like Jet with their song “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” or Yael Naim with “New Soul.”
American Authors – Lowe’s / Lay’s
American Authors’ “Best Day of my Life” was destined for advertising from the very beginning. With its catchy instrumental and vocal hooks, and positive, universal lyrics, its no wonder the band found its stride through a super bowl placement with Lowe’s, as well as placements with Lay’s, Hyundai, Telecom, and ESPN.
Fitz and the Tantrums – Sprite
You may not have known Fitz and the Tantrums or their song “The Walker” by name, but anyone with a television could surely whistle the tune made famous in this Sprite ad. Even before that, Fitz and Co. were launched into stardom with two New Amsterdam Vodka commercials, which featured their songs “Loft” and “Moneygrabber.”
If you’re curious where pop music is headed, keep your ears open during the break!

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