Posted in music | video on January 13, 2009

by Ryan Barkan

Cloud Cult

It's a music video! It's an ad! It's a music videad! It's the band Cloud Cult, fully animated in a TV spot for Esurance, but there isn't a sales pitch to be found. The Minneapolis psychedelic-pop band had traditionally shunned marketers, but the DTC insurance company won them over with some hard-fought green credentials. The result is a charming spot that not only fits in with the visual style of the band, but also features one of Cloud Cult's best songs.
[Ad Age Ad Songs of the Year]
This commercial came out late in 2008...though I think I only saw it one or two times. But thanks to an increase in rotation (January is the busiest month for car insurance!) partially influenced by the above placement in Ad Age, Esurance's Cloud Cult cartoon commercial has been on TV heavily over the past few weeks. The band shows up as animated characters in what comes off more as a music video for their 2005 song "Lucky Today", than as a sales pitch for insurance. A quick jump to Esurance's website and you can find a special Cloud Cult microsite where you can watch the commercial, stream/download a few songs, read why the band finds similarities in their and Esurance's love for being green, and learn how to be more eco-friendly.

According to SoundScan, the band sold more individual digital downloads of "Lucky Today" (1,400) in the last week than they usually sell in a month from all albums...combined.

Other Notable Licensing News:

RadioheadRadiohead gave gratis (aka free) permission to the National Coalition For The Homeless to use the song "MK1" in a spot that attempts to show homelessness can happen to anyone. (via Songs For Soap). This was their first commercial license ever. Watch the spot below.

Michael Stipe was cool with giving a gratis license for Amnesty International to use REM's "Until the Day Is Done" in a powerful new spot. Watch that below as well.

"In fact, it seems like the one thriving corner of the music business is ad placement. The only people making any money are the artists landing their songs in TV commercials and the royalties that come along with that, so the most successful bands this year will be the ones whose songs are most conducive to selling shit. Which means that Santogold is your Artist of the Year for 2009. Once the shampoo companies find out about 'I'm a Lady', forget about it. It's a wrap." [Tom Breihan in the new L Magazine]

Santogold says 'aha' a lot in the new commercial for the Samsung Pixon phone with her song, "Say Aha". Watch it here.

Audi goes old school in the new spot for the Q5, breaking out Woodie Guthrie's fun "Car Song."

Another car manufacturer went NOT-old school - Volkswagen stayed local (German) with the Berlin electro-group Team on their new (clearly inspired by the movie The Matrix) spot for the Golf. Watch below.

Vancouver band, Readymade, has a song used by Unilever in their new Sun spot, highlighting "Human Potential."

Apples in StereoI'm addicted to Diet Pepsi. It's my friend-mesis. Pepsi has rebranded my favorite drink and its overall image with a new "smile" logo. The brand launched its commercial campaign with a spot featuring the music of The Apples In Stereo (Via YANPicasso).

Papa John's sponsored an NCAA football bowl game last month. During said bowl game, the pizza maker debuted a commercial celebrating their 25th anniversary featuring Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight".

John Lennon may not be alive, but that didn't stop Yoko Ono from lending his voice to a good cause. Watch the OLPC PSA below.

Walmart promotes the football season with a commercial using Queen's anthem "We Will Rock You".

Fashionista Kanye West is teaming up with one of his favorite designers, Luis Vuitton, to create six shoes for the brand. You may have also noticed Kanye's song "Flashing Lights" in the Season 6 promo to the F/X channel's show "Nip/Tuck". Commercial below.

continued, with videos, below...

I'm excited by this: A Tribe Called Quest x Air Jordan Collaboration. The black tee will be in my collection.

Rock Band fans can now grab a great six-song Roy Orbison pack to download .

On the tube, Cold Case was infected with music. Fratellis, Coldplay, Lucero, Cat Power, Spoon, and Ryan Adams were all being used. Gossip Girl continued to make good selections for music with Department Of Eagles included in last week's episode. Brothers & Sisters chose The Weepies for their most recent ep. Coldplay was also heard in Ghost Whisper. 90210 used Holly Conlan's "OK". Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was used in NUMB3RS; Grey's Anatomy featured The Coral Sea, Santogold, Dido, and Ben Folds ft. Regina Spektor. Lastly, One Tree Hill used Frightened Rabbit, and Without A Trace used a Moby song.

The videos...

National Coalition For The Homeless with Radiohead's "MK1"

Amnesty International with Michael Stipe's "Until The Day Is Done"

Video: Kanye's "Flashing Lights" in "Nip/Tuck" promo ad

Volkswagen Golf with Jeans Team

A message from John Lennon (OLPC)

and in case you missed this one, it's Ozzy Osbourne ("The Prince of Darkness") for the video game Worlds of Warcraft...

Ozzy World of Warcraft



Comments (32)

for what it's worth, i think this licensing column/feature is great.

Posted by jkristian | January 13, 2009 8:52 AM

Nothing says New York like seeing the Derek Trucks Band at the Gramercy or an ex-Stroke struggle for his life in front of a crowd of people while hemorrhaging money.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 8:58 AM

that cloud cult song is just awful.

Posted by blurp | January 13, 2009 9:02 AM

For what it's worth, this column is beyond worthless. So in case I was fortunate enough NOT to see a commercial featuring these sellouts (don't kid yourself, the term still applies), I have to read about it on my local blog. great.

Do you ever step back and go , "uhh, I just wrote a column about Santogold slinging cell phones." and think , "what happened to me?"

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 9:23 AM

Anon 9:23 - youre a douche

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 9:36 AM

not to mention giving free ad space to E-surance, et al.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 9:40 AM

i wonder how much $$ they actually got for this. probably not much...

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 9:47 AM

yeah, Radiohead are such sellouts man. How dare they help the homeless.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 9:54 AM

i am thoroughly bemused by the fact that I watched a UPS commercial this weekend with music by Postal Service.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 9:54 AM

Who is responsible for that version of "somebody's watching me" that's in all of those Geico commercials.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 10:04 AM

Radiohead are not sellouts - if you wanna write about helping the homeless, fine, mae a seperate post.

But using Woody (it's not Woodie by the way) Fucking Guthrie to sell cars!? And then furthering the advertiser's agenda by reporting about it?

So how does Satan's cock taste?

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 10:11 AM

hahahahhahahh, 10:11, i wish you were kidding because you're a joke.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 10:21 AM

I agree that that Cloud Cult song kind of blows. Doesn't the beginning of it sound like a ripoff of Midnight Rider by Allman Bros, which by the way, does not blow.

Posted by halified | January 13, 2009 10:31 AM

few years back, Beulah (a California-based band that had a few very good albums) broke up because the band members were unable to support their families by making music. Apparently, middle management jobs were more lucrative. Personally, I would not mind hearing one of their songs on a commercial, if that meant a new album from them (or any other band in a similar position)

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 10:34 AM

here we go again, the "band needs money" argument
BULLSHIT- anyone can record a record on their laptop,
welcome to the 21st century.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 10:44 AM

"BULLSHIT- anyone can record a record on their laptop,"

ANYONE? Sounds like someone is so spoiled they forgot that not everyone can even afford a laptop.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 10:49 AM

wait, an idiot left a comment on a blog using a computer and called someone else spoiled for having a laptop?

it's true, recording is cheap nowadays

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 10:53 AM

what kind of idiot thinks he /she can support a family being in a band??? either you become successful then have a family, or once you have a family, get a "real" job. you can still be in a band, but to think you'll be able to support a family on it is delusional to be kind.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 10:55 AM

Anon 10:34 - I totally agree and now I miss Beulah again

Posted by mp77 | January 13, 2009 10:58 AM

Re: 10:44

You are missing the point. Maybe they can record an album on their laptop (if they can afford a laptop), but that does not mean they can live off of that record. They still have to sell copies of the record, tour, etc.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 10:59 AM

I saw an ad on tv in Cochabamba, Bolivia, or more a public service anouncment reminding people to vote, with Hopipolla by Sigur Ros in it, which threw me a bit.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 11:02 AM

I fail to see why that Papa John's item is in there, more so since it's so non-vegan.

Posted by naj | January 13, 2009 12:36 PM

What is the song in that Casio Exilim commercial??
Is that TVOTR or Peter Gabriel?
I hope it's neither, but who knows.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 1:24 PM

cheap still sounds cheap, even in the digital revolution. you want warm recordings, you need more that a laptop.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 1:58 PM

>cheap still sounds cheap, even in the digital
>revolution. you want warm recordings, you need
>more that a laptop.

Posted by Anonymous | January 13, 2009 3:59 PM

Re 10:44

oh ok, so they don't deserve to make any money off of all the hard work they put into making a record. writing, performing, recording and touring is not vacation. you have to work really fucking hard at it if you want to be successful in todays market with shitloads of new bands every week.

Posted by Anonymous | January 14, 2009 4:40 AM

No doubt that Woody Guthrie song is in the public domain.

Posted by Anonymous | January 14, 2009 5:20 AM

A very interesting site. It seems more and more indie and not so indie bands are jumping on the brand wagon these days.

Myself included.....anyone know of any up and coming licensing companies I can pitch to?


Posted by Pete Smith | January 22, 2009 12:41 AM

Wow! What an information shared is? Gorgeous Post u have. when will the next post waiting the same type of information. It proved to be very helpful and informative.

Posted by Jennifer | July 29, 2011 10:54 AM

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Posted by Apart Hotel | March 14, 2012 10:24 PM

About licensing, it is nice to hear that they follow the rules and regulations in the industry.

Posted by Knee Doctor Dallas | March 22, 2012 6:31 AM

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