10 Legendary Bands Who Were in Ridiculous Commercials

Led Zeppelin

Advertisers everywhere are in love with using celebs and big name rock bands to sell their goods. Just look at all those Lincoln commercials starring Matthew McConaughey-hey-hey. They’re definitely all right, all right, all right. His facial expressions and some classy scripting paired with the beauty of the Lincoln automobiles and a couple of adorable talking dogs make them completely memorable and not at all cheesy.

And, how about those Sam Elliott voice-over Dodge Ram commercials? Let’s face it, that voice could make any vehicle seem like the very best ever. Who wouldn’t want to buy an expensive truck as long as it was endorsed by one of the greatest actor/cowboys ever?

Unfortunately, that can’t be said for all of the commercials featuring some amazing rock bands in some not so amazing commercials. One such ad from yesteryear has surfaced just this week and everyone is getting the opportunity to see the Stones as we’ve never seen them before. So, here are a few of the most ridiculous, most humorous and most outrageous of them all, starting with that one, of course:

1. Rolling Stones- Kellogg’s Rice Krispies- 1964

Watching Mick and his sidekick Keith sing about Snap, Crackle, and Pop on television had to be downright painful for diehard rock ‘n roll fans. And, even the guitar licks that resembled something by Chuck Berry couldn’t quite make it good. The rare commercial for British TV was said to be made in 1963 or 1964, but it’s been seen a lot lately thanks to social media. Bet Mick wishes it had stayed a distant memory.

2. Iron Butterfly- Ban Roll-On- 1968

Who would ever expect to hear this iconic band on a deodorant commercial? After all, nothing says psychedelic and heavy riffs like a good old roll-on for your armpits. They had other commercials that were unreleased, but too bad this one was because it was really abysmal. WTF were they thinking?

3. Paul Revere & the Raiders- Pontiac GTO- 1969

The band originally did a song entitled ‘Time After Time’, but then licensed the tune to Pontiac with some not so great major changes to the words. On top of that, the commercial spot didn’t just include their hit song, but also the band itself and unfortunately the end result was pretty ridiculous. They also had licensed a previous song to Chevy in 1965, so you’d think they would have known better, but alas, they did not.

4. The Beatles- Nike- 1988

After their song catalog was sold to Michael Jackson, the Fab Four had no control over licensing of one of their songs for a commercial. ”Revolution” was licensed to Nike for a late ‘80s commercial that was not only kind of lame, but also resulted in a major lawsuit. The remaining Beatles ended up filing against both the advertising firm and Nike. The case was dismissed because Yoko Ono had actually signed off on the transaction. She felt that the ad would make her late husband’s music available for the new generation. So, by 1989, the case had been successfully settled out of court.

5. Iggy Pop- Carnival Cruise Line- 2005

Choosing the Iggy Pop hit single “Lust for Life” has got to be some ad exec’s worst decision ever. It’s been called everything from incongruous to a disconnect between the actual product being promoted and the song being used. The song does involve some rather unfortunate mentions of things like booze, drugs, and stripping. Not since the Wrangler commercial that used “Fortunate Son” and the ill-fated Mercedes commercial with Janis Joplin’s song about the iconic car has a commercial and a song been so poorly matched. And, oh, by the way, Janis was actually a Porsche driver.

6. The Black Keys- Nissan- 2006

Here’s a well-known and often Grammy nominated band who clearly did it just for the money. They licensed their song “Set You Free” to Nissan for an Exterra commercial simply because they just hadn’t been making much income over the previous years. The band members stated that having a song in a commercial did almost as much good as having it heard on the radio. And, the money ain’t bad either, right?

7. Led Zeppelin-Cadillac- 2010

Initially, the automaker wanted to use the Doors’ hit “Break On Through” for their commercial. And, although they were offering a record $15,000,000.00 for the licensing, the deal was quashed by their drummer who didn’t want to compromise the band’s integrity. So, they went to Led Zeppelin and they had no problem with it. So, the commercial was made using their hit “Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Unfortunately the commercial really didn’t rock or roll and was rather lame in spite of the great music and the futuristic vibe. VTW, however, just as sales went through the roof as a result of Matthew McConnaughey’s Lincoln ads, Cadillac sales also soared after Led Zeppelin’s commercial as well.

8. LMFAO- KIA- 2015

So, who knows more about rockin’ parties than these guys? And, some might say that having their “Party Rock Anthem” in a KIA commercial with rocking and rolling animated hamsters is really ridiculous, not to mention selling out. But, then again, guess who’s LMFAOing all the way to the bank?

9. Europe- Geico- 2016

Their 1986 smash hit “The Final Countdown” is a timeless classic and has been utilized in sports events for many years now. But, now the band and their song have a new home on TV’s very funny Geico commercial. The spot portrays a rather lame office worker who wants to nuke his lunch with the song playing in the background. All of a sudden, the band is playing right there in the lunchroom as he counts down his burrito. Pretty funny stuff! And, lucky for Europe, their sales have seen quite a bump as the end result.

10. Jon Bon Jovi- DirecTV- 2016

Jon’s net worth may be $300,000,000.00, but that doesn’t stop him from doing crazy commercials for DirecTV. OK, most of the TV giant’s commercials are pretty funny, but that’s what makes them stick in the minds of viewers for a decent amount of time. Look what they did for Rob Lowe’s career? Not to mention the fact that those recent Payton Manning DTV commercials, as well as the less recent ones with his brother, Eli, are absolutely hilarious. And, who could ever forget super-sexy supermodel Hannah Davis and her horse? Well, like they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. So, no matter how ridiculous the new lyrics to “Turn Back Time” are in the commercials, they do at least keep reminding us of how much we love Jon Bon Jovi.


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