Without any text, logo, or even a direct picture of the actual product in question, almost anyone in the world would be able to tell you what product the above advertisement is for. At the very least, they could tell you which company is behind it. This is a direct result of the genius of Apple marketing. Whether it is a silhouette of someone dancing in front of a bright background, a simple product/hand shot in front of a white background, or a “geek” talking to a “hipster” side-by-side in front of a white background, most every one of Apple’s major marketing campaigns is simple, clean, instantly recognizable, and often imitated/parodied. One thing that is also synonymous with these marketing campaigns is the use of pop music. Apple’s use of pop music in each of its ads is almost poetic. Many artist could even credit Apple for helping launch their careers. Now before the momentous release of the Steve Jobs biopic Jobs led by none other the great Ashton Kutcher (what?), we went ahead and listed our favorite songs used/use of songs in Apple commercials. As a qualifying factor of this list we decided we must first: love the song. Second: the use of song. And third: the song in consideration must be a popular song. No originals allowed! Which is unfortunate for songs/ads like this one that have a cripplingly brilliant effect to them …
Onto the list:
10. Song: “Bruises” by Chairlift
Product: iPod Nano 4G Chromatic
A lot of songs in Apple commercials tend to take on a double meaning. Either the song title, the lyrics, or at least the editing to the beat of the song provide some sort of justification for its use. A use other than it being a catchy, instantly lovable song of course. “Bruises” is strictly the latter. From what I can tell it has no correlation to the product, the add, nor any hidden meaning other than one on-beat action where the paint begins dripping. Yet this song and Chairlift will always be remembered for it. It’s light yet bouncy demeanor instantly makes you fall in love with the song as well run to the store to buy a Nano Chromatic. After re-watching that add, I got on eBay to buy one just for the hell of it.
9. Song: “Possibility of Love” by Miles Davis
The first of all pop-song infused Apple ads and my personal favorite of all time. The combination of Miles’ slow, sexy tune and Jeff Goldblum’s buttery voice match the slow movement and crossfade cuts of the colorful iBook in a way that is almost orgasmic. Well, as orgasmic as a computer commercial can be anyway.
8. Song: “Technologic” by Daft Punk
Product: iPod 4G + iTunes
The silhouette marketing campaign is one that will be embedded in people’s minds for the rest of their lives. It was subtle, eye-catching, and brilliant. “Technologic” made for a perfect dance op for the subjects to really get their groove on, and for that Daft Punk/Apple, we thank you.
7. Song: “Music Is My Hot Hot Sex” by CSS
Product: iPod Touch
Never you mind the hard-hitting, perfectly-timed, on-beat cuts and movements throughout the entire commercial (actually don’t overlook that, because that is a huge part of what makes this ad so great) but simply focus on how perfectly the lyrics to this song match up with the product. The song is literally about loving music so much that it’s essentially how the artist gets off. So much so that it has become her boyfriend, her girlfriend, her sex. This is being used in an advertisement for a device that plays music. Not only that, but one that now (actually then) it has a touch screen. It’s like CSS wrote this song for the iPod Touch. Mad bonus points for “Music is where I would like you to touch” line at end of the ad. It’s all too perfect.
6. Song: “1234″ by Feist
Product: iPod Nano 3G
On the surface, this may just look like we picked a great artist/song for a relatively simple ad. Yes, we at LxL do love our Feist, but the ad actually dives a bit deeper than that if you know the music video behind the song. The commercial actually matches the difficulty of continuity/one shot form of the music video. Clever girls, those Apple marketers. It also was a cool way to show that the Nano now came with video.
5. Song: “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” by Cake
Product: iPod Nano 6G with Touch Screen
Cake is a very stone cold cool type of artist. He’s dry and is monotone, but he’s still fun and catchy. Somewhat similar to the way Apple comes across in their marketing. So what better than an Apple/Cake combo? The slickly-edited video is displaying the functionality of the clip-on Nano with its brand new touch screen as it’s being clipped to different articles of clothing. Possibly even a jacket, or the hip of a skirt.
4. Song: “New Soul” by Yael Naim
Product: MacBook Air
Apple’s “new soul” was found in its MacBook Air. Yael’s “new soul” was found in being introduced to all of western civilization. The Franco-Israeli’s song “New Soul” was handpicked for the add campaign by Steve jobs himself. The song instantly rose to fame, became one of the most downloaded songs of 2008, and Yael was instantly signed by Warner Music Group. She also became the only Israeli solo artist to ever have a top ten hit in the United States. All thanks to Apple. The theme of the song ties in with the release of Apple’s then new product perfectly. It’s a simple ad and a simple song, but it’s one that instantly strikes a chord in everyone’s heart that hears it, and for that Steve Jobs, we thank YOU!
3. Song: “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet
Product: iPod 4G
It wasn’t the first silhouetted ad, but it was the hardest hitting, and our collective favorite. I think I’ve covered the effectiveness of the silhouette ads already, so I’ll spare you the added gush.
2.Song: “Tongue Tied” by Grouplove
Product: iPod Touch 4G
“Tongue Tied” is a song that as soon as you hear it, you feel familiar with it. Every single time I saw this ad with someone that hadn’t seen it before, the first thing that came out of their mouth was, “What song is that?” Good pick for a song to use with a product that the target market is already familiar with, but needs reminded of why it is still great. It’s an instant ball of fun and is also a perfect visual/audio combo. They infuse the song into the ad in a very great, very original way as well.
1. Song: “Extraordinary Machine” by Fiona Apple
Product: iPad 2 Smart Cover
Great song: check.
Artist name same as company name: check.
Perfect on-beat movement/edits throughout the entire video: check.
Title of the song is a perfect adjective/description of the product: check.
Incorporating the sounds of the product into the song: check-mate!
Enter our favorite Apple ad/song combination.
It may be the weirdest Apple product they have ever marketed, but dammit, they did good doing it.
The “just missed our list” list:
Austin – Song: “Around The Bend” by Asteroid Galaxy
Product: iPod Touch 2G
A simple, yet fun display of the iPod Touch with a fun song and a clever wordplay of the games being played on the product. Austin is also a terrible iPhone game app addict, so this commercial suits him well.
Wes – Song: “Never Stop” by Chilly Gonzales
A perfect example of a song/artist that would hardly ever be heard otherwise, but is instantly loved by all. A song in true Apple style to boot.
Todd – Song: “She’s A Rainbow” by The Rolling Stones
Call me sentimental, but I have a soft spot for old Mac products, as well as old Mac adds. This ad comes from the “Mac Colors” era and no better a song to use for the campaign if I do say so myself.