When the British pop band Republica released its debut album in 1996, it met with critical acclaim but sales were flat.
But this summer, Mitsubishi used a track from the album to sell its Galant. Today, two years after its release, the record's a hit, to the surprise of the ad's creator, Donny Deutsch:
"It was never a musical campaign. It's really getting across that these are sexy cars for people and to put some very exciting musical tracks against it. We had no idea that this spot would get such attention or that Republica would have this incredible revival as a result of it."
The tunes of another British group, Spiritualized, were mostly heard in rock clubs and on CD players of generation-Xers, until Volkswagen used one of its songs in an ad for the new Beetle.
Spin magazine editor Craig Marks says the audience these days doesn't seem to mind the marriage of Madison Avenue and rock'n'roll:
"Unlike the generation before, the baby boomer generation, that was the first to sort of sell out as far as selling their rock songs to commercials, this generation seems to take it as just another part of a way to move records and get bands to become more popular."
It's a bona-fide trend. The sounds of LA band Crystal Method can be heard on commercials for The Gap and Mazda. And Mercury Records was prompted to re-release a 1982 album by Trio when a song by the now defunct band aired on a spot for the Volkswagen Golf.
But the band to get the biggest boost from an advertiser may be The Verve. Nike used the song Bitter Sweet Symphony for its NFL playoffs and Super Bowl ads. Sales of the band's album doubled, and the single sold more than one million copies. It was enough to land the group's leader on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
Commercials may be turning obscure music into hits, but there's a casualty in all of this. Some of the folks who used to write all those catchy jingles aren't writing as many of them anymore.
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