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Great songs that TV ads ruined


A good song has the ability to move you in ways you never believed possible: onto the dance floor, to sobbing uncontrollably, or, given a well-placed bit of marketing, a cash machine.

Indeed, advertisers are only too aware of the power of a good melody, which is why, time and time again, we see great tracks featuring on telly ads. Some good, some bad, and some where the songs are so overplayed the actual track loses all artistic significance and we've got to quietly delete it from our iPods. Which we only bought because of this.

Here are some other ads that totally ruined otherwise great tunes...

Song: Blur – The Universal

Ad: British Gas

Time was you could sit back and bask in the melancholic glory of this Blur classic, taken from 1995's The Great Escape, and ponder big existential questions about how large the universe is and how insignificant humans really are. Now all it makes us wonder is whether we left the immersion heater on.

Take That - Shine 

Ad: Morrisons

After luring Ant & Dec to the waters of corporate greed in return a few mince pies and a bagful of cash, Morrisons then went and soiled another British institution, borrowing the upbeat sounds of Take That's Shine and turning the song into nothing but a cheap supermarket jingle. Clean up on aisle five, Gary Barlow - it's your soul.

Song: Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks

Ad: Homebase

Whistling it already aren't you? Catchier than chlamydia at the Playboy Mansion, Peter, Bjorn & John's hit single had us all humming along to its chorus for a short time. Which was fine, right up until it was used on all the Homebase ads, where it eventually became the DIY world's equivalent of white noise.

Song: The Dandy Warhols - Bohemian like you

Ad: Vodafone

Cast your mind back to 2002: David Beckham still played for Manchester United, phones still flipped and harmless Oregon rockers The Dandy Warhols struck one-hit wonder gold with Bohemian Like You, played extensively as part of Vodafone's How Are You? campaign and subsequently sullied forever.

Song: The’s - Woo Hoo

Ad: Carling

What sounds more terrifying to you: a limb-slicing Yakuza army rucking around a palatial Japanese restaurant, or a posse of lairy blokes removing their shirts for a mass kick around in a grey city centre like some Glaswegian apocalypse? No need to answer - with Woo Hoo now synonymous with both Quentin Tarantino's super cool Kill Bill and this far less cool Carling ad, sadly, the two groups are now practically entwined.

Song: Ernie K Doe - Here Come The Girls

Ad: Boots

“HERE COME THE GIRLS. GIRLS. GIRLS. GIRLS.” We got it the tenth time, Boots - females like to frequent your store, fulfilling their superficial desires by purchasing endless boxes of makeup before assembling en masse in a fog of hairspray and inexpensive perfume to manically laugh at how good they all look. Smashing. Just a shame we can't listen to the original song without getting the imaginary waft of No7 products.

Song: Two Door Cinema Club – This Is the Life

Ad: Debenhams

This is the life. The life where you start off with dreams of stardom, pen a debut album (2010's Tourist History) which sees no less than five tracks used for commercial gain, to earning enough money that you can start building a bigger cinema.

Song: Black Keys – Gold on the Ceiling

Ad: Cobra beer

As everyone who's ever hopped on a Virgin Pendolino knows, a man crushing empty cans against his head on the 18.23 Glasgow to London service doesn't look very aspirational - so we fully understand why Cobra would want to go back to its Indian roots for this lavish ad about people getting pissed on a train. Although the real cost must have come when forking out for the rights to this once glorious Black Keys song; now all but dead to us.

Song: Tinie Tempah - Written In The Stars

Ad: Sky Football/Ford

Just when you thought Moloko’s The Time Is Now was becoming palatable again, Sky Sports go and basterdise another track with its incessant cutaway ads between the football, and now nothing forewarns the gritted teeth of Graham Souness and incredibly tight trousers of Jamie Redknapp like this Tinie Tempah track. Tacked onto shots of footy-obsessed fans piling into Ford hatchbacks, the only saving grace for Tinie is that his vocals aren't actually on it.

Song: M83 - Midnight City

Ad: Made In Chelsea/E4

If you're the sort of culturally-desolate individual who spends evenings watching Made In Chelsea then you may have been suckered in by the klaxon-happy electro feels of M83's Midnight City, used as the theme tune to the E4 show along with countless promos for it. Speaking about the deal, the band's Anthony Gonzalez told The Guardian: "I feel good about it, because first of all I have to make money, and I'm not going to make money from record sales. Second, it's an opportunity for people to hear my music who'd never listen to it otherwise." And then he dived straight in to a swimming pool full of golden coins.

Song: Alex Clare - Too Close

Ad: Microsoft Internet Explorer

Alex who? Who cares. Reaching the dizzy heights of number four in the UK single chart when his sleekly produced and stirring dance track Too Close was used in an advertising campaign for Microsoft Internet Explorer 9, it wasn't long before we all tried our best to banish it from our memory. If we could Ctrl+Alt-Delete on any ad campaign it would be this one.

Song: O sole mio (1898)

Ad: Wall's Cornetto 

Ah we'll get a Magnum, thanks.

Did we miss any? Tweet us yours @Shortlist with the hashtag #adsongs



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