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Gone Commercial: Rock Stars Appearing In TV Advertisements (Sex Pistols, Slash, Motorhead Feature)

Tuesday, 03 July 2012 Written by Heather McDaid
Gone Commercial: Rock Stars Appearing In TV Advertisements (Sex Pistols, Slash, Motorhead Feature)

The notion of getting a celebrity to advertise your product to draw more attention isn't a new one, but there's certainly something extra to be gained from creating something weird. Metal lords promoting butter? Shock rockers promoting family hotels? While Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne appearing in spot commercials stick in your mind for the next few minutes, it's the weird and wonderful that stand out long-term.

The Sex Pistols were the punk force who brought anarchy into the UK, a musical force whose rendition of 'God Save The Queen' was banned, while other tracks of theirs were censored. They were the rebels, the outcasts, the band who caused riots because they did what they wanted. They were the epitome of punk in a world that wasn't ready for anarchy, yet when Johnny Rotten himself appeared on our television screens saying, "Do I buy Country Life [butter] because it's British?" the whole grandeur of defiance surrounding them had its final nail in the coffin. Butter. BUTTER? Whose idea was that? Whoever's it was, it was pretty off the wall and we like it. It certified that John Lydon is about as punk as a cotton bud nowadays, but still.

In a similar vein, 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter' created an advert featuring the Prince of Darkness himself Ozzy Osbourne alongside impressionist John Culshaw. The seemingly identical duo are in the kitchen baking fairy cakes, before declaring that the Prince of Darkness doesn't make fairy cakes, he makes rock cakes. Probably one of the funnier adverts in the last few years, we wouldn't say no to seeing more.

This isn't the first company who've used Ozzy to sell their product. Samsung utilised the mumble of his voice, so no one could understand what he was ordering in the coffee shop or saying to his therapist (hint: it sounds rude). But phew! Thankfully, Ozzy has a Samsung mobile and texts people what he's saying. Black coffee for the Prince of Darkness? But of course.

More recently, Ozzy was teamed with Justin Bieber in a Best Buy advert. For one, it's made funnier if you've seen his interview with Mark Hoppus, on which his response to whether he listened to Justin Bieber was, "Who the fuck is Justin Bieber?" With technology moving so fast, Ozzy advertises the 4G and 5G phones, while Justin steps in for the latest update 6G. Personally, Ozzy's the highlight of this one... But enough of Ozzy Osbourne's string of weird commercials...

From one rock legend to another, Alice Cooper has had his fair share of commercials. What regular product couldn't use the quirk of Alice and his dark mystique? Well, Staples stationary company did exactly that as he peruses the isles for pencils, pens, everything you'd need for school. A stern little girl questions, "I thought you said school's out forever?", to which he replies "The song goes school's out for summer. Nice try though." We see what you did there, and that was pretty awesome.

Marriott Hotels also thought the face of shock rock was perfect to sell their family holidays. In full attire, he questions a man mowing his lawn about when his last family retreat was, when they spent real quality time together, adding, "You don't want your kids to grow up to be weirdos, do you?" If that didn't convince you, the advert ends with Alice Cooper playing jump rope with some kids. The phrase 'my name is Alice, I live in a palace' has been jammed in my head since seeing this advert.

Who knows what went on in the meeting for the Los Angeles Zoo commercials of late. To unveil their Living Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles segment, they teamed up Betty White and iconic guitarist Slash. It's no secret that the ex-Guns N' Roses star is taken with his reptiles, but the advert shows Golden Girls star Betty White explaining to him how to tell the difference between male and female toads. To quote Slash's response to this information - "That's cool."

Kronenbourg 1664 came up with an interesting way to promote their beer. In the midst of a French bar Motorhead do a slow, bluesy, acoustic rendition of 'Ace of Spades'. In a similar vein, Madness did a slowed version of their smash hit 'Baggy Trousers'. There may be more adverts in this theme, but they're not as popular. This is definitely something they should look at continuing, because the idea itself is pretty great.

KISS are about as far from shy as putting their brand to a product as anyone can be, so with the opportunity of doubling up a Walmart ad with their latest record 'Sonic Boom', it's unsurprising they went for it. The latest four employees of Walmart, we see the band offer fashion advice, decorate cakes, work on the make-up counter, pretty much make Walmart look awesome. Gene starts an awkward singalong at the end, which it rather cringe-enducing, but seeing Paul Stanley air guitar on one of Walmart's finest cooking pans makes it all better... Sort of.

Pizza Hut called on one of the Beatles to sell their new stuffed crust pizza and Ringo Starr was more than happy to oblige. Standing next to a cow at the start of the advert, he assembles the boys and declares the time has come... To eat our pizza crust first? Sometimes pizza needs a change and apparently the stuffed crust pizza is so good you'll want to eat your pizza backwards. Thanks, Ringo.

James Brown turned his hand to selling soup in a Japanese commercial that saw him erratically dance around his kitchen to a product-warped version of his classic 'Sex Machine'. That's only one. A string of adverts has the song with the words 'Miso Soup' slotting in surprisingly well as James does the same dance to a different background, all in the name of Miso Soup.

In the world of adverts some are weird and some are wonderful and that's really the key in finding success. While these are primarily of the classic rock breed, there are countless commercials from all genres that are just - well, odd. From Starchild doing your make up in Walmart to Ringo trying to change the way you eat your pizza, the world is full of weird ads and thanks to Youtube they're likely to stick around for a while longer.

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