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June 12, 2002
Thank You for Ruining My Favorite Song with Your Bad Commercial

Like a Rock.
I was strong as I could be
Like a Rock
Nothin' ever got to me.
Ooooooooooooo oooooooooooo

Like a Rock.

Brilliant, Mr. Seger, brilliant. Like A Rock, indeed. Your lyrics speak a human truth, that through the tragedies in life we must persevere. We can ultimately only count on ourselves.

By the way, we're shooting a new truck commercial next month. Can we have it?

Thanks! Is "Still The Same" also available? (Geritol). By any chance, would "Turn the Page" be for sale? (Barnes & Noble). Oh, and our agency's vinyl siding pitch just wouldn't be as effective without "Against The Wind." Help a friend?

Who should we write that big fat check out to? Thanks Mr. $eger.

Let's face it. Using the hits of yesterday to push a new product has always been a popular route to take in advertising. Low budget? Impossible deadline? Sixth round of concepting? About to lose the business?

Two words: Burger King. Guys, thanks for forever tainting all those stellar R&B hits of the 70s by using them solely as a cheap backdrop for a glorified product shot. I'm pretty sure nobody likes these spots. They reinforce why consumers think advertisers are untrustworthy and manipulative. Tapping into favorites like "Tell Me Somethin' Good," "Hot Stuff" and "Disco Inferno" with nary a concept to put against them. Not only will I not eat your flame broiled Whopper, I absolutely refuse to Super-Size it.

Think that'll teach 'em? Doubt it. Not when there's a whole batch of unused '80s songs left in the hopper.

I don't care if the spots tested well in groups. Don't care if they magically bridged three unrelated product benefits together. Don't care if it was "cool to use it."

It's borrowed interest in its most insidious form. And plain wrong.

Hereupon, I urge all creatives to resist the temptation to make our collective nation's favorite songs part of your thirty-second commercial. Advertising doesn't save lives. But it could easily taint my record collection.

Before it's too late, I propose we petition the government to create an Endangered Tunes Agency. It'll be a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping your favorite song from being used in a commercial. We'll make posters, newspaper ads, and TV spots. If you want, we'll even pay for reprints and enter them in CA. (But send 'em in to Archive first for the exposure.)

There are exceptions: classical music & Enya are perfectly fine. Yodeling, as my friend Brett Compton has proven, also works wonderfully if need be. There are a million exceptions to the rule.

Now, pardon me but I have to go. Having neglected my concepting duties to write this, deadlines are fast approaching.

Oh well, there's always Dokken.

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If you drive through the beautiful state of Georgia, you'll likely hear a few really good radio ads for the Georgia Lottery, none of which include a pop song. Meet John Spaulding, a senior copywriter at Atlanta's Austin Kelley. John's work has been featured in the One Show, CA, and of course, the Radio Mercury Awards.

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