Got A Minute? The Music Is The Message

What’s the big deal about using cool music in a TV commercial? Ad agencies do that all the time, right? But in Brazil, it can lead to a chart topper.

Jorge Ben wrote Mas Que Nada

When it comes to music, creativity and TV commercials, Brazil is in a class by itself:

Coca-Cola tapped Antonio Carlos Jobim for the rights to his ‘Águas de Março’, giving new lyrics to ‘The Waters of March’ to make the jingle a worldwide sensation. Jobim even became a celebrity spokesman for Coke in a relationship that lasted for several years.

Another TV spot featured a paper cup with a plastic lid and straw, played as a Cuica (singing drum) to give that Brazilian percussion instrumental a clever twist just in time for Carnaval.

Classic.

But one of the best stories started life in 1989, when W/Brasil (a top Brazilian ad agency) rolled out an exciting, new campaign for Rider Sandals and the big star was… the music featured in the TV spots.

The idea was to showcase Brazilian Pop stars recreating favorite hit songs. The first was with Paralamas do Sucesso re-doing Jorge Ben’s ‘País Tropical’. Then Marina Lima came up with a new version of a Rita Lee tune. The campaign had taken on a life of its own by 1993, with Tim Maia – who was already a big fan of Rider sandals – recreated Lulu Santos’ and Nelson Motta’s ‘Como Uma Onda’ from 1982.

The Rider campaign went on to become one of Brazil’s biggest advertising success stories. There was even a CD, which became a chart-topper in Brazil.

But what’s the big deal about using cool music in a TV commercial? Ad agencies do that all the time, right?  True, but W/Brasil is one of the most awarded ad agencies in the world and its founder Washington Olivetto is one of Brazilian music’s biggest supporters.

So much so that in 1990, Jorge Ben wrote and recorded ‘W/Brazil (Chama o Síndico)’, reviving the singer’s career with a return to the pop charts.