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.