I’m getting onto this story a little late because it came to light last month, but the Australian state of Queensland is running an advertising campaign using a cover version of the Beatles “Come Together” to win tourist visitors back to their flood-ravaged capital city of Brisbane.
In January Brisbane, along with most of Queensland, suffered through devastating floods and has seen a real downturn in tourist visitors as a result. The state and the city need to get back on their feet. But really – why spoil “Come Together”? I don’t know about you, but I really hate to hear Beatles songs used in this way. In fact I hate hearing any song I really like bastardised by advertising agencies to sell any product.
Another Australian example from a couple of years ago that really grated (and I suspect this was used globally) was the use of the classic Beach Boys “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” to sell Cadbury chocolate. It just belittled this song for everyone for evermore:
Thanks for nothing, Cadbury. You spoiled a really great song.
The Brisbane version of “Come Together” was recorded by two local bands Hungry Kids of Hungary and Ball Park Music. Its not the first time Beatles music has been used in advertising. Probably the most celebrated example was from back in 1987 when Nike used the actual track (not a cover version) of “Revolution“. When it got to court Apple and the Beatles’ attorneys argued that “…the Beatles position is that they don’t sing jingles to peddle sneakers, beer, pantyhose or anything else. Their position is that they wrote and recorded these songs as artists and not as pitchmen for any product.”
I’d be interested to hear what you think. Does the use of Beatle tracks (or any great popular music for that matter) to sell or promote product get on your nerves?
Let me know.
This song and advertising campaign was used in a positive vain to encourage people from south east Queensland to “come together” to celebrate the success of recovering in the aftermath of the flood crisis. It encourages queenslanders to be proud of their state and to hold their heads high after such devastating events and be proud of the great things about their state. All profits from this song go to the Queensland premiers flood relief fund for those who lost their homes and their loved ones – its not like the advertising campaign says “come together right now, over a tasty caramel filled mars bar” – it could be worse
Hi Mark, That’s a reasonable point. It’s not advertising a tacky product – which I agree would be a lot worse. And I didn’t know all profits went to the fund set up to assist flood victims. That’s a nice touch. I still have an issue with iconic songs being appropriated and commercialised. I guess it has to do with our often strong personal memories of songs and how being extracted into a 30 second grab for television, and often repeated over and over, changes that.
Pingback: Beatles and Advertising | Beatles Blog