Companies are always approaching rock stars to lend street cred and coolness to their products. It’s an uneasy alliance, but it does mean serious exposure…and a serious paycheck. Hey, those private jets aren’t going to pay for themselves! Sometimes it’s a passive partnership, with the musicians handing over their classic songs for use in television commercials. But other times the star plays a more active role -singing a jingle, or even penning a whole new song!
Recently, Frank Ocean very nearly became the spokes-singer for Chipotle, but pulled out of the deal before he recorded the tune. Honestly, we had kind of a hard time imagining the rapper shilling for a burrito chain (although we love the guac, don’t get us wrong). Although we guess it wouldn’t have been any weirder than these 15 OTHER megastars who turned jingle-singers…
15. Jack White For Coca-Cola (2006)
The White Stripes frontman ditched his garage rock edge for the lush “What Goes Around Comes Around” track that he penned and performed for a global Cola ad. The move struck some as surprising, because he had previously rejected an offer to appear in a spot for The Gap. Considering his trademark red, black and white wardrobe color scheme, maybe he felt a special kinship with Coke? Or maybe he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Cola-friendly rock legends, The Who.
14. David Bowie and Tina Turner for Pepsi (1987)
Pepsi really pulled out all of the stops in the ’80s, first landing the King of Pop for a famous (and highly flammable) ad in 1983. Then they tapped the Thin White Duke to re-write the lyrics to his contemporary hit “Modern Love” a few years later. Add a little Tina Turner, some weird faux sci-fi sets, and voila: an thoroughly confusing multi-media experience that would have made Ziggy Stardust proud.
13. John Lydon for Mountain Dew (1996)
He was the antichrist, and he was the anarchist. But by the ’90s he was a salesman for products like butter and Mountain Dew.
12. Mary J. Blige for Burger King (2012)
Ooof. This ad for burger royalty met with some pretty nasty blowback. Blige herself claims that the spot aired only semi-complete (it was supposed to have a dream sequence?), and accusations of corporate racism soon began to fly. The clip was soon pulled, apparently because of a licensing issue. Riiiiight.
11. Ted Nugent for Energizer (1993)
We gotta say, the Nuge has a pretty good sense of humor in this commercial-within-a-commercial. He really sells it for the non-existant Tex-Mex place he pretends to shill for, likely proving the inspiration for Bud Light’s beloved “Real Men Of Genius” radio spot. Then, of course, he’s interrupted by the dreaded Energizer Bunny.
10. The Rolling Stones for Rice Crispies (1963)
Yup, that really IS a pre-fame Mick and the boys stompin’ out a pretty catchy big beat track for Snap Crackle and Pop. Consider our minds blown! The spot inspired a similar plot point on the AMC series Mad Men, borrowing “Time Is On My Side” for Heinz ketchup. We’d like to see that one, too.
9. The Flaming Lips for Hyundai (2013)
The ’90s indie icons penned the original “Sun Blows Up Today” for a 60-second spot that premiered during Super Bowl XLVII.
8. Tegan and Sara for Oreos (2014)
We never saw this coming from the former folky duo. Copywriters penned the lyrics to “Dare To Wonder”, and tapped the sisters to bring a healthy dose of bouncy pop to their latest ad campaign for new flavors “cookie dough” and “marshmallow crispy.” Like the song, those sound like delicious guilty pleasures.
7. Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin for Coca-Cola (1969)
Wait wait wait…Ray and the Queen of Soul, doing a song written by the great Neil Diamond? OK, this is just fantastic.
6. Paul Stanley for Folgers Coffee (2001)
“Folgers stirs inside of me, and I know what I can be. The limit is the sky, hey, world watch me fly.” You guys, Paul Stanley really loves his coffee.
5. Cream for Falstaff Beer (1967)
That’s Eric Clapton providing the soundtrack of a commercial for a pretty obscure American beer. At least he traded up for his Michelob campaign in 1987 (an interesting choice for a recovering alcoholic), but Jack Bruce’s passionate vocals seem to push the ridiculous level up to 11.
4. Ronnie James Dio for Budweiser (1983)
The King of the Devil Horns did a radio spot for the King of Beers back in that golden age of celeb endorsements known as the ’80s.
3. Dave Navarro for Gap (1997)
The ex-Jane’s Addiction guitarist lent some riffs to a Gap ad, but it ran only a week before it was yanked from the air. Of course, let’s not forget the classic Steven Tyler/Joe Perry edition…
2. Iron Butterfly for Ban Roll-On (1968)
The heavy metal pioneers and creators of the classic “In A Gadda Da Vida” lent their thundering rock to a deodorant ad. The sixties really were a weird time, man.
ZZ Top for Honda Z (1998)
And, of course, Z seemed to be an appropriate place to end this list.
[Photo: Getty Images]