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From the Vault: Novartis' Corporate Song Is Hilariously Awful


Last month, blogger Derek Lowe -- a researcher at an unnamed pharmaceutical company who is widely read in the drug R&D business -- wrote a post about a company he had worked for that unveiled its own "inspirational" corporate song in front of a mass meeting of the staff:
I watched all this with mounting dismay and horror, wanting to clap my hands over my ears, both to shut out the music and to keep my soul from trying to flee ...
In the comments section under that post, two readers reminisced about a "hilariously awful" song that Novartis (NVS) once created for itself. Well, it took a little more than a month but one of BNET's readers has come good. Here, for the first time on the internet, is Novartis' "The Science of Life" -- easily a contender for worst corporate song ever composed:
There is so much going on in this song, it's hard to know where to start. The refrain includes this unintended prediction of its effect on the audience:
Unlock your hearts!
Open your eyes!
Uncover your ears!
Uncover your ears!
But most of you will be gobsmacked by the bridge section in which the tune breaks off sharply into a rap:
Novartis Pharmaceuticals -- we're gunning for the best
We may be number two but we meet the test
Be impressed!
Baby food, health food, medical nutrition
We make a mean Ovaltine to beat the competition
The lyrics offer a clue as to when the song was originally composed. Novartis sold Ovaltine -- a sort of malty bedtime alternative to hot cocoa favored by Europeans -- in 2002, so the song must be at least nine years old. Also, Novartis trademarked the phrase "The Science of Life" in 1999.

The style of the song (and its title) is reminiscent of some of the material from 1994's The Lion King, but the rap section was a device that peaked in the 1980s, before grunge made it uncool. But who knows how long it took for that development to percolate its way through to Novartis' marketing department?

Readers with information on the genesis of (and internal company reaction to) "The Science of Life" are urged to get in touch so I can update this item with more detail.


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