One of the headline stories online today began like this:
Queensland brewer Castlemaine Perkins has been forced to defend its latest TV ad for XXXX beer after complaints were made about the commercial containing a song about a school shooting.
You can read the whole article and view the ‘offending’ ad by clicking here.
Now the ad itself is actually quite good, but it’s the music, Foster The People’s popular song ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ that’s the real issue. I’d always wondered what the lyrics of that song were on about;
“All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, better run, better run – out run my gun. All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, better run, better run – faster than my bullet”
Ahh…now I see. Somewhat bleak but a catchy song nonetheless. Also, I think its about a fictitious school shooting not a particular one; but still a song that deals with pretty dark themes.
Now when you decide to pour a whole lot of dollars into your new TVC you certainly need to think long and hard about audio; because in reality it’s half your ad! Not to mention the fact that royalties for music can often be half the cost of the TVC itself. You need to consider both the beat/tune of the music (is it upbeat enough, is it fast enough/slow enough etc) and the lyrics. Do the lyrics reflect your brand and your message?
In the case of XXXX the ‘beat’ suits the commercial but the lyrics certainly don’t. But probably the biggest issue here is the company’s response to the allegations that the song choice was, in short, poor.
“The brewer responded to the criticism with its own post, defending its choice of song, saying the lyrics have “no association” with the ad.” (ninemsn.com.au)
How can you say the lyrics have no association with the ad? It’s playing during the ad, it was chosen for the ad and the point of a music bed is to create a feeling/scenario/enhance the ad. You simply cannot choose a song for your ad then claim it has no association with it. That’s like going to a Collingwood match dressed in your black and white and when they lose claim that you have “no association” with the team.
A simple ‘whoops, our bad, we didn’t really research the song well enough’ from the company would have been a much better reaction. So really there are two lessons to be learned here;
1. Take some time to pick your music bed carefully and;
2. Take responsibility.
Alternatively, get someone in PR to handle the situation because the company’s reaction in this case was downright ridiculous.
Having said that, don’t be afraid of the TVC, it’s one of the funnest and best ways to promote your business. Just make sure you trust your marketing company and don’t overlook audio as the ‘less important’ component.
*The Marketing Mix love TVCs and have created many ads from animation to real-footage for their clients. They also have a ‘jingle guy’ who writes many of their catchy tunes.