I have such mixed feelings when it comes to some of my favorite bands shilling for major brands. I don't mind it, though, when the music seems to meld well with the product or tone of the commercial. It also leads to some hilarious moments from time to time (see: The Black Keys and Vampire Weekend showdown on The Colbert Report).
Another time when it seems to work is when I really like the brand doing the advertising. There have been three recent collaborations between some of my favorites artists and some of my favorite brands, all of which led to great results.
Best Coast and Johnny Marr for Ray-Ban
I want a pair of Ray-Bans so badly, I've taken to wearing the Ray-Ban-esque glasses sold at Wal-Mart until I have some more money to buy the real deal. In a recent project for the brand, Johnny Marr, formerly of The Smiths, has teamed up with several up-and-coming bands to produce songs for the brand. The "Raw Sounds" project includes several bands; Best Coast, Au Revoir Simone and Tom Vek, but Best Coast seem to best capture the sunny and cool attitude of the brand itself.
Here all songs here.
Karen O for Chipotle
Karen O, of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, is a legend in the making. It's only fitting that she should cover a song by two other legendary artists, even if it's a completely different style than her own. Miss O covered Waylon Jenning's and Willie Nelson's "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys." The song was recorded and a video made for The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which aims to support sustainable agriculture and family farming. The video itself shows three young boys exploring and vandalizing an abandoned farmhouse, only for the experience to hit close to home for one of them.
Matt & Kim, Andrew W.K. & Soulja Boy for Converse
This isn't the first collaboration between a seemingly random mix of musicians and Converse (and it won't be the last). A few years ago, the brand released "My Drive Thru" with Santogold, Julian Casablancas (of The Strokes) and Pharrell. More recently, Matt & Kim, Andrew W.K. and Soulja Boy released "I'm a Goner." I find it surprisingly awesome given that, while I love Matt & Kim, I'm not too big a fan of the other two. And, the collaborations are kinda fun. Next up is a collaboration with Gorillaz, which should be released in February of next year.