Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Product placement in Pop Songs

Companies like Coca Cola spend billions of dollars on advertising each year, much of it for product placement in movies, TV and books. But sometimes it happens the other way around—products find themselves written into pop songs. From Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” to Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz”, brand names have inspired some big hits…and the advertising is free.

Here’s the spiffy new video version of Record Bin Roulette:

Most people had never heard of teenage deodorant Teen Spirit until the brand got a huge boost from Nirvana’s 1991 #1 tune “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.  But as the song faded from the music charts, so did deodorant sales. Here's Nirvana and “Smells Like Teen Spirit”:

Coke didn’t have to spend a dime for all the free advertising it got when “Rum and Coca Cola” sung by the Andrews Sisters became the top single of 1945. And they didn’t have to spend any lira either when Italian chanteuse Gigliola Cinquetti hula-hooped her way through “Rum and Coca Cola” in 1975 :

Marilyn Monroe’s performance from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes likely caused sales to spike at Tiffany and Cartier. Here’s “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”:

John has worked as a professional bassist for 20 years, including a 15 year stint as Musical Director of the Mountain Stage radio program. John has been at KNKX since 1999 where he hosts “All Blues”, is producer of the BirdNote radio program, and co-hosts “Record Bin Roulette”. John is also the recording engineer for KNKX “In-Studio Performances”. Not surprisingly, John's main musical interests are jazz and blues, and he is still performing around Seattle.
John Maynard started working in radio in the seventies as a DJ at Seattle’s KJR AM which at the time was the dominant AM station in the Seattle market. After a brief stint as a restaurateur and night club owner, Maynard returned to radio with Robin Erickson, creating the hugely popular “Robin and Maynard Show.” In the more than 20 years under that marquee, Maynard flew with the Blue Angels, piloted the Goodyear Blimp, sang with Donny Osmond and hung out in a Universal Studios bar with Kojak (Telly Savalas).