MC Hammer and Cash 4 Gold

The strangest and thirstiest commercials with musicians

by Mark Teo

February 19, 2015






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In case you haven’t heard, music and brands have formed an unholy alliance. But even to casual observers, this shouldn’t be surprising: Sour Patch kids has been actively inviting indie-rock acts to crash on their couch. 7-11 has been wooing Lumineers fans with mason-jar slurpees. Even the Honey Nut Cheerios bee became BFFs with Usher. Brands might be the Poochie to music world’s Itchy and Scratchy, but in the half-pipe of commerce, we’re all fakie noseblunting our way into mutual synergies.

While brands are willing to exchange cash for cultural cachet, the relationship between music and advertising isn’t always so, uh, smooth. Sure, some jingles are great—think: Weezer’s State Farm song and Tegan and Sara’s Oreo theme—but other commercials don’t fare so well. Some are cringeworthy; some are bizarre; some are light parody fare that we felt remiss excluding; and some are straight-up thirsty.

MC Hammer and Cash 4 Gold

You know that MC Hammer’s hit hard times when he’s in a Cash 4 Gold commercial. Hopefully he isn’t actually pawning off his watch collection.

Drake and Sprite

It’s weird to think of a time when Drake wasn’t a massive superstar—he, after all, released a mixtape that’s become one of 2015’s best-sellers. But Drake did, in fact, start from the bottom, and in the aughts, he wasn’t above turning into a singing robot in the name of Sprite.

Jack White and Coca-Cola

You want synergy? Let’s talk synergy. The White Stripes were plenty fond of red-and-white motifs, so naturally, Coke to a shining to Jack and Meg. This video is essentially “The Hardest Button to Button,” only reimagined to hawk the brown bubbly.

ICP and Glade

Okay fine, this one’s a parody, but we just wish. We just wish so hard.

Dr. Dre and Dr. Pepper

Can you imagine the boardroom that approved this commercial? “The commercial’s perfect. But can we place a can of Dr. Pepper on Dr. Dre’s turntables, just to drive the point home?”

50 Cent and Vitamin Water

50 Cent’s long endorsed—and once owned—Vitamin Water. Accordingly, none of his Vitamin Water promos were embarrassing, but they were weird. Case in point: This commercial, where he leads an entire orchestra through “In Da Club.”

Jay Electronica and Mountain Dew Code Red

Remember that time when Mountain Dew was an incubator for underground rap? Yeah, neither do we.

Mary J. Blige and Burger King

While Mary J. Blige’s BK commercial was highly controversial—many thought it traded in black stereotypes—Blige was nonetheless paid handsomely to lead Burger King’s rebrand. Master P, on the other hand…

Master P and Winton & Hiestand

One-time Toronto Raptor hopeful Master P absolutely dominated the ’90s with hits like “Step to Dis.” Still, he isn’t just living off his royalty cheques—instead, he’s speaking on behalf of ambulance chasers.

Method Man and Redman and Right Guard

Method Man and Redman, however, are two dudes who know how to do a commercial right. Back in 2002, they were riding the momentum of How High, and they rode it right through a peloton of cyclists into a Right Guard endorsement.

Method Man and Redman and Sour Patch Kids

A decade and a half later, the duo are still doing commercials, this time, for Sour Patch Kids, where, to an original track, they’re terrorized by an army of delicious gummy candies.

Method Man and Redman and St. Ides

Right Guard, however, wasn’t the duo’s first endorsement. Earlier, they’d combined to lend their name to St. Ides, and we’ve had fuzzy feelings towards the revered malt liquor label ever since.

Ozzy Osbourne and World of Warcraft

Here, Ozzy arguing with gamers about who’s the real Prince of Darkness. Hint: It’s neither the Ozzman nor anyone from the World of Warcraft. His name is Beelzebub, and he hangs out under Vancouver freeways.

The Game and Anthony Gray Tax Service

Master T isn’t the only rapper indulging in low-rent commercials. Compton mainstay the Game also gave a stamp of approval to Anthony Gray Tax Service, because you don’t wanna sleep on tax time.

Usher and Honey Nut Cheerios

Remember when Jay-Z dropped Magna Carta Holy Grail by pre-loading it on a fleet of Samsung phones? Usher’s one-upped him by releasing his new songs at the bottom of Honey Nut Cheerios boxes, available exclusively at Wal Mart. Your move, Jay-Z.

Tyler the Creator and Mountain Dew

What happens when brands are so desperate for cultural relevance that they hire Tyler, the Creator to direct their commercials? This. Just this.

Weezer and Snuggie

Weezer’s cut of the classic Snuggie spot used to sell Weezer Snuggies. Duh.

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