Hard Rock, Fast Cars

Every time I go for a long car ride, I select one of my Hard Rock playlists. Road trips and rock’n’roll music are perfect for each other. Any stretch of asphalt gets even better when “Highway Star”, “She Sells Sanctuary”, “Highway To Hell”, “Heading Out To The Highway” and, of course, “Born To Be Wild” are blasting out of the speakers.

Apparently, ad agencies think the same. They’ve been using some of my favorite songs–my battle hymns–in car commercials. At first I was upset (“You know, the commercialism of it all, man”), but now… what can I do?

“Rock’n’Roll” by Led Zeppelin selling Cadillacs seems like a no-brainer:

And the great “Hush” by Deep Purple fits the Jaguar ad:

But Judas Priest’s “Electric Eye” doesn’t scream Honda Odyssey, a minivan:

Sometimes they get creative, as in this use of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on The Water” (for the Dodge Avenger):

Or in the Honda Pilot’s brilliant version of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train”:

I don’t know much about cars. Nowadays, I’m pretty much this guy in the Jetta ad (the song is “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent):

Even though the ad companies want me to feel like this guy:

“Kickstart My Heart”, indeed. :) I’m still torn about corporations using songs I love to peddle stuff. Do you feel upset when they use “The Lorax” to sell cars? Or “Star Wars” characters to sell candy and cell phones?


36 comments on “Hard Rock, Fast Cars

    1. Fabio Bueno

      Yeah, my kids don’t understand my headbanging either :-) Thanks for the visit, Louise!

  1. emmaburcart

    Wow, we really have different taste in driving music! My favorites are 90’s R&B or 80’s Madonna. I love driving to the coast and listening to R.Kelly, while singing along as loud as I can. I haven’t seen any car commercials that play music I know, but I would be excited if I did. Although, I don’t really pay attention to car commercials. As much as I love cars, I don’t like their commercials. It’s always some boring old guy driving and talking. Yawn! Or the worst is those gerbils in the car that looks like a brick of cheese on wheels! I can barely stand to fast-forward through it! The only car commercial I like the new Mustang commercial. But, honestly, I think L.L. Cool J driving one on NCIS: LA is as much of an ad as any car can get! Fun post!

    1. Fabio Bueno

      Emma, that gerbil ad freaks me out for some reason!
      But I do have other playlists for other moods and traffic patterns: contemporary R&B, 80’s guilty pleasures, blues, and reggae. Road trips always start with good ol’ rock’n’roll, though.

    1. Fabio Bueno

      Thanks, Susie! I don’t remember theme songs, but I only started paying attention to car ads because they were stealing my songs.

  2. sheilapierson

    I LOVE your music choices by the way…and I don’t mind the car commercials using these songs – in fact, when they come on it kind of takes me back…makes me want to get in my car and drive…

    1. Fabio Bueno

      That’s a good point, Sheila. The ads do stir something inside us, don’t they? Which is the goal of the ad, I think :-)

  3. Laird Sapir

    Nice music, Fabio! I’m with Sheila on the commercials – sometimes it is nice to hear a song I may have forgotten about! :)

    1. Fabio Bueno

      That’s true, Laird. Sometimes I even hear songs and Bing them, so I can purchase it later. But some classics are best left alone…

  4. Coleen Patrick

    The Honda Hellion one is funny, esp since I drive an Odyssey. I like to blast my music every now and then still–and I have a wide range. I like to listen to what’s current, but I do love me some Crazy Train (and I’ve seen Motley Crue in concert). :)
    Great post Fabio!

    1. Fabio Bueno

      LOL. Sometimes those road trips involve Wonder Wife’s Sienna playing Judas Priest, Metallica, and Iron Maiden REALLY loud. I look ridiculous, but I don’t care.

  5. Jennette Marie Powell

    Oh yeah, you hit on some of the best cruising songs! But I hate it when they’re in commercials, mainly because it’s a “you know you’re getting old when…” moment! Oh and I hate the Crazy Train one regardless. That one’s just bad. Might be OK if it was for something cool (no offense to Coleen :) ).

    1. Fabio Bueno

      I don’t like Ozzy much, not his other songs, but “Crazy Train” is dear to me. I just thought it was a good idea, but it took me four or five views to get used to the kids singing.

    1. Fabio Bueno

      I know! They even play “our” kind of music at the pub where we hold our crit meetings :-)

  6. jansenschmidt

    I love the Jetta commercial!!! “Is it fast?”

    And “Highway to Hell” is a great song to blast even if you’re just driving home from work – or more appropriately driving to work if your employer is not the best boss in the world.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  7. Nigel Blackwell

    Good song, Fabio. I particularly like Stairway to Heaven – because I can make it home just about the moment it finishes! I do hate the country and western stuff that goes with every truck advert in Texas though.


    1. Fabio Bueno

      Oh, good point, Nigel. Those Bob Seger songs in car commercials were a little too much.

  8. Debra Kristi

    I always fast forward through the commercials. This was fun to watch. I’d seen the last two a few times though. They’re funny. I like the dodge commercial. No commercial would be smart or cool enough to trick me into a minivan. Just sayin’. I’m not that mom.

    Fun post Fabio!

    1. Fabio Bueno

      I skip commercials too, but I watch a lot of sports. And sport events have lots and lots of beer and car ads…
      Actually, minivans are very comfortable. Come on, Debra, get one… :-)

      1. Debra Kristi

        Are you trying to pull me over to the dark side? Mess with my cool factor? 😉 Hubby can drive the minivan. Oh wait. He refused. With the miles he drives to and from work I said he should get a smart car! LOL. He said he’d get killed. :( I don’t want that.

        There’s something waiting for you over at my place today.

        1. Fabio Bueno

          Debra, thanks for the shiny gift! 😉
          A smart car? Wonder Wife wants to get a motorcycle… Even more dangerous…

        2. Debra Kristi

          Ha! I used to have one of those. Lost it in a garage fire. The husband had one too. Sold it because he spent too much time diving and not enough time on the bike. They can be very dangerous. Especially since cars don’t always look out for them. Tell her to ride wisely.

  9. Sheila Seabrook

    On our roadtrips, Fabio, we love listening to SuperTramp and Elton John. :) And I actually enjoy commercials that use popular music or characters. Maybe I just haven’t seen the bad ones yet!

  10. Karen Rought

    This makes me wonder how much influence a song can have over the sale of a car. A lot of people have a lot invested in these songs (I know I do – they bring back great memories of me and my dad because he ALWAYS plays classic rock songs in the car when we’re together). Loving the song that much, makes you remember the ad better. And if you can remember the ad, that gets you one step closer to going out and buying the car. Hmm. Interesting. :)

    1. Fabio Bueno

      Good point, Karen. Using those songs certainly helped me remember those ads. I won’t buy the cars, but I do remeber the commercials :-)

  11. Melinda VanLone

    I’m odd…I love commercials. As long as they entertain me, I’ll watch them. I love the really clever ones, and the ones that use humor. Yes, even if they use my favorite characters and songs to do it. I watch the Super Bowl just for the commercials lol. I usually skip the game. Advertisers must love me.

    1. Fabio Bueno

      Superbowl is a special occasion. The commercials are everyone’s favorite part, I think: I always host Superbowl parties, and the guests only get quiet during the commercials :-)

  12. Marcy Kennedy

    I watch most of my TV from the DVR so commercials get fast forwarded through. I hadn’t seen most of these, but some of them are quite good. If it’s done well, I don’t mind. A good commercial is actually an art form. If it’s done poorly, then I hate it because it feels like exploitation of something I otherwise enjoy.

    1. Fabio Bueno

      Marcy, I am a DVR-watcher too, but I still watch spots live—that’s how those ads caught my attention. I agree that some ads are really well-made (some famous Hollywood directors started as directors of commercials!).

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