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Adtunes.com presents the Top Ad Music for 2005. This is our annual listing of the best and most memorable (which aren't necessarily the same thing) music used in advertising from the past year.



10. Satisfying Hunger
From European dance floors comes DJ Benny Benassi's synth song "Satisfaction" (iTunes) -- now selling, of all things, hamburgers in a Wendy's commercial. This is our entry in the "Love it or hate it, I can't get it out of my head" ad song category. We do wonder if the fast food chain is aware of the infamous Benny Benassi "Satisfaction" music video featuring bikini-clad models and power tools (yes, you read that right) from a few years back.

9. Paul Sells Out?
In 1987, Nike ran a TV commercial using the Beatles song "Revolution". This was a first for a Beatles recording, thanks to publishing owner Michael Jackson. Despite fan uproar, this began the modern era of popular music in advertising. At the time, Paul McCartney complained "the song was about revolution, not bloody tennis shoes."

How times have changed. In 2005, Paul McCartney appeared in a commercial for Fidelity Investments, along with his song "Band on the Run". (Fidelity also sponsored his concert tour.) We don't believe in the aging hipster cries of "SELLOUT!" when talking about licensing songs for advertising. (Since when has the oh-so-rare music video on MTV or the aging formats of FM radio been your source of music?) McCartney's "Fidelity" demonstrates, for better or worse, the real revolution in advertising and its use of popular music.

8. Concrete Design
A popular commercial among designers and other creative professionals was Target's "Design for All" TV ad. The commercial does a really wonderful job of illustrating design and its place in everyone's life, or at least in the context of consumer products available for sale at your local "Tar-jÚ" (or if you prefer, "Tarzhay") store. To match the ad's refined visuals, the company went with the Velvet Underground inspired goodness of "Say Something New" (iTunes) by The Concretes. (Which, like so many other ads, exposed many listeners to a new band for the first time. People really do discover great music from television commercials.)

7. Party Virus
Nextel's "Dance Party" commercial is a good example of the so-called internet "viral video" phenomenon that gives advertisers both pleasure and confusion at the same time. The ad technically dates back to 2004, but didn't reach its true popularity until it was later picked up by video clip web sites such as iFilm. (The clip is one of iFilm's top "viral video" commercials at the moment.) Many have never even seen the commercial on TV -- only online as a video clip due to its popularity. In the spot, three office workers are so efficient (thanks to Nextel) they have time host a dance party backed by Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It" (iTunes). A great example of pairing the right song and execution in an ad.

6. An Apple a Day
Our site probably mentions Apple too often. In our defense, it's hard to deny the impact of Apple when it comes to music -- the company is the market leader when it comes to the delivery of digital music (via the iPod and iTunes). One part of that success is how aggressively the company embraces music in its advertising. Very few companies selling digital music products use music as effectively as Apple does. For 2005, Apple continued its reign with the iPod+iTunes TV campaign, with the highlight being the roller skating silhouettes sliding to beats of "Feel Good Inc." (iTunes) by Gorillaz.

5. Sin City Servants
Trailer music fans can be a persistent bunch. Each year, at least one particular piece of movie trailer music grabs them without letting go. This year's obsession would have to be the instrumental version of the song "Cells" (iTunes) by the group The Servant from the trailer for Sin City. Typical conversations might include: "Have you heard Cells? Where can I get Cells? I can only find the vocal version of Cells -- where is the instrumental version of Cells? Will Cells be on the Sin City soundtrack? (No.) Cells? Cells. Cells!"

4. As Heard on TV
This year's Overseer Overexposed Award goes to "I Like the Way" (iTunes) by Bodyrockers. What makes the song noteworthy is it appeared first in the "Loft" Diet Coke commercial, followed later by the album release. Music producer Gregory Grene (of FCB, the agency that created the ad): "I think it was the first time we were able to break a track almost a full month before the release. And when the CD came out, it had a sticker on it saying As seen on the Diet Coke commercial." The track went on to make several other appearances, including the television show Las Vegas and the 2005 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

3. PSP Takeout
The biggest hype among video game system launches (pre XBox 360 anyway) surrounded the Sony PlayStation Portable -- the PSP handheld gaming system. While the jury is still out on the success of the system, the "POV" commercial for the PSP certainly went over well. The ad follows (literally) the chorus of "Take Me Out" (iTunes) by Franz Ferdinand. As a result, the band moved far beyond their "indie favorite" status to a whole new audience. (Some may find it hard to imagine this PSP ad would be many listeners' first exposure to Franz Ferdinand, but as we keep repeating, this is how many newer bands breakthrough and sell lots and lots of records.)

2. Hello Adidas
To prove commercials can include a level of sophistication normally seen in motion pictures, look no further than Adidas and director Spike Jonze. The "Hello Tomorrow" Adidas commercial created by Jonze features the director's dreamy visual take on where a pair of shoes can take you. The haunting "Hello Tomorrow" (iTunes) commercial song was composed just for the spot by Squeak E. Clean (Spike's brother Sam Spiegel) and features Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on vocals. It's nice to see and hear something so arresting in a piece of advertising.

1. "Mahna Mahna" Mania
This year, it seems Dr. Pepper successfully erased any memory of their famous "I'm a Pepper" jingle from the 1970s -- all thanks to The Muppets. In a commercial for Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, a date in a restaurant turns into a catchy chorus of "Mahna Mahna" and "Do-do-do-do". The song, "Mahna Mahna", appeared on the first season of The Muppet Show. Originally by composer Piero Umiliani (for a Swedish porn film), the track has even been covered by bands such as Cake (iTunes). "Mahna Mahna" generated the most response on our site, which made it an easy choice for the top of our ad music list.

Download the iTunes iMix of the Top Ad Music of 2005

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