PSB songs that have been used in TV commercials
1. It's Alright
The Introspective rendition of this Sterling Void dance classic was used in an advertisement for the Ford Focus autombile that aired in the United States during the year 2000.
It was, perhaps, inevitable. In early 2013, several different commercials aired in the U.K. for the Tesco grocery/merchandising chain using this early Pet Shop Boys track. The fact that the song actually has nothing at all to do with "shopping" in the usual sense is lost on most people. But it sure sounds as though it does, which is good enough. Besides, they just can't resist that insistently catchy chorus.
Although more than one TV commercial has employed music strongly influenced by the Pet Shop Boys' first big hit (such as some for the soft drink Sprite that aired in the late 1980s), the only one I'm so far aware of that is a direct "musical quotation"—of course featuring that unmistakable bassline—aired in 2005 for Denmark's largest bank, Danske Bank.
A 2010 commercial for a Spanish-language branch of the E! Entertainment television network (probably E! Latinoamérica) features not only this song playing as a vivacious young woman hops out of bed and gets ready for the day but also a big PSB Yes poster on the wall of her bedroom. Cool!
An advertisement in 2008 for Bank Leumi (National Bank) in Israel featured this song, although not performed—at least not wholly—by the Pet Shop Boys. The backing track certainly sounded very much like that of the PSB original. But the vocals were clearly not sung by Neil, although they still made use of the PSB song's lyrics. An instrumental segment of what was very obviously the original was subsequently (in early 2017) used in a spot for the Spanish mobile phone operator/wireless provider Movistar.
The BFM News Network in France has repeatedly used the intro of the album version of this track as "bumper music" for its daily weather reports. Bumper music is specifically disqualified from inclusion in my list of Pet Shop Boys songs used in non-musical films and television shows. But BFM has also used the same segment of music in its August 2013 TV commercials for its news programming, which earns it a spot in this list instead.
A short excerpt from the opening instrumental portion of this song was allegedly used in an advertisement that ran in early 2017 on satellite/cable television for the "adult" network Miami TV. (Please note that this is second-hand information and I cannot vouch for its absolute veracity. But I don't see any reason for the regular site visitor who told me about this, and who says he is confident of the accuracy of his observation, to report a falsehood. Nevertheless, I must insist for legal reasons that this is an alleged and possibly erroneous report of a commercial use of this PSB song.)
Plus a couple of borderline cases involving the same song:
Although the Pet Shop Boys version is a cover of a song originally recorded by the Village People, the fact that our musical heroes re-popularized it to such great effect has resulted in several blatant knockoffs:
- A British commercial for Ben's Bread (I'm not sure when it aired) altered the lyrics but otherwise performed an obvious takeoff on the song that was, both musically and "video-ally," very much in the "PSB style."
- In the mid-1990s, a ketchup commercial shown in Israel (where the PSB single proved extremely popular) was also a takeoff on the Boys' rendition and video, featuring children wearing similar costumes and helmets. This TV ad proved so successful that it's still fondly remembered today, roughly two decades later, and the Pet Shop Boys themselves are reportedly sometimes referred to jokingly in Israel as the "Ketchup Boys."
- A 2013 commercial for the Haifa West real-estate development, also shown in Israel, asks viewers to "Go west and join our new project," accompanied by a choir singing the song's chorus with an instrumental arrangement again in the "PSB style."
- A commercial that ran in the U.K. in 1998 and 1999 for Ambrosia rice pudding also employed the song using a very PSB-like arrangement. Interestingly, another TV ad for the same product used a takeoff on a different Village People song, "In the Navy," only this time closely following the original VP arrangement rather than mimicking the Pet Shop Boys. So clearly they had the PSB version of "Go West"—not the Village People original—in mind with the first ad.
- A 2015 Argentine commercial for Lucchetti pasta has music that's closely modeled on the PSB rendition of the song, right down to a lead vocalist who's an audio dead-ringer for Neil—only of course he's singing in Spanish.
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