Chevy got the music of Fun fun. and OK Go both to soundtrack their Let’s Do This campaign for the new compact car, Sonic. Not sure how I feel about hearing fun. this way, but The Black Keys sold all of their last album for commercials. Moby famously did it with his album “Play” as well. And OK Go has proved they can use sponsor money for cool activities. Even cooler, they wouldn’t be working with Chevy if the State Farm videos hadn’t delivered some ROI.
My knee-jerk reaction to hearing fun. in a commercial is “I got sold”. My knee jerk reaction to seeing OK Go do a cool art project with Chevy is “Wow, that’s going to be really neat. Those guys are genius”.
In both cases, Chevy paid money to create and use art for the purpose of getting my attention, with the end goal of persuading me to buy this car. Why is my reaction so different then?
Possible answer: Context matters. Is it believable that the spokesperson would truly endorse the product featured in the advertisement? If so, there’s a match. For example, Micheal Jordan and Nike had a long and successful relationship. Those ads and shoes worked because it’s very reasonable to believe that Jordan is in to Nike Shoes.
Two bad examples are Danica Patrick/GoDaddy and Weezer/Izod. There is no reasonable link between racing and domain names or power-pop moshpits and pricey, posh sweatshirts.
In the case of the Let’s Do This Campaign, I can see OK Go and their fan base (including me) being reasonably interested in a zippy, stylish car. With fun., the song makes sense for the video (both celebrate youth), but for me it’s too obviously a bid to boost their new album’s pre-orders. I don’t have a problem with Chevy using music to attract me. But fun. clearly had nothing to do with the video, so it rings a little false to a current fan.
See the Chevy videos at http://letsdothis.com/stunts.