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May 26, 2010

Nick Drake, no longer such an obscure voice, returns in AT&T ad

Posted on Wed May 26 2010

Back in 1999, I, like many people, discovered Nick Drake through a Volkswagen commercial. At the time, the carmaker had gotten some press by (imagine!) releasing its "Milky Way" ad from Arnold (posted below) on the Internet a week before it hit TV. The other thing worth noting about that spot was that it featured Drake's song "Pink Moon." At the time, Drake was a mostly forgotten British musician from the early '70s who committed suicide before he made much of an impact on the U.S. music scene, though his influence on Robert Smith of the Cure and Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian was recognized later. Since then, he's become much better known, in part because of that VW ad. Now, 11 years later, AT&T has tapped another Drake tune, "From the Morning," for its "Rethink Possible" campaign (above) from BBDO. It's a great song, but the connection with the marketer isn't quite as logical. (The ad shows fabric being draped over famous U.S. sites like the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to illustrate AT&T's wireless coverage. In contrast, the VW ad was about a group of friends who were so intoxicated by the night sky that they didn't want to get out of the car and go to a party.) "Pink Moon" also had such an impact back then because it was obscure, which Drake no longer is. But there's still a lot of great '70s music out there that hasn't had its day. Agency folks, if you need help finding some of that stuff, start here.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

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