HAVE YOU become aware of the number of music “pro’s” who have taken time off from the studio so that they might advertise a variety of goods on TV? I have.

But I have also recently become aware of similar adverts that are transmitted abroad; perhaps because our pop divas would rather we didn’t see them. And in many cases, I wouldn’t blame them.

Ray Charles, a unique and influential musician who even had a highly successful film made of his life and career died in June 2004. Or so we thought. It comes as a great surprise to discover that he is a Honda salesman in Japan these days.

Bad enough, but there is also a hard-to-track-down commercial of Stevie Wonder promoting a flavoured coffee called “Fire”. Stick to the singing, Stevie!

In another commercial The Sugarbabes promote Barbie. Honestly, if you haven’t caught this little beauty on YouTube, do yourself a favour, and make sure you miss it. If it comes on TV and catches you unawares you would do well to rip the set from the wall and launch it out of the window before the 40-second video gets stuck in your head forever.

Some advertising executive thought that getting Jessica Simpson to advertise Pizza Hut would be a winner. He might have been right, unfortunately the commercial involves JS holding up little pieces of pizza and singing “These bites were made for poppin’” to the tune of These Boots Were Made For Walkin’. Not good.

Do you think that the ad exec and creative crew who came up with that travesty still have a job? I would like to think not.

Or how about Spice Girl, diva and superstar Emma Bunton? It seems that  what she wants – what she really, really wants – is a plate of pasta sauce from the US called “Prego”. Well, according to the commercial she made that’s the case. Anybody know the number for the TV Advertising Authority?

At least these awful ads are only being shown abroad – though if you really are a sick individual you can find them all on

Alternatively, here in the UK we have the delight of the likes of Duffy riding a bike while trying to sell us the benefits of Diet Coke. There must be something in that stuff, because some of the notes she hits make her sound like Mickey Mouse having taken a deep breath of helium. About the only way to watch it pain-free is from behind the sofa with your fingers jammed in your ears and a cushion stuffed in your mouth to stop from laughing.

And what about Iggy Pop gibbering on about the benefits of a particular insurance company? An insurance company, by the way, that refuses to issue policies to musicians. Very rock ‘n’ roll, that.

But it all pales into insignificance when we have sneering, venom spitting punk Johnny Rotten trying to flog us butter. It’s enough to make you shave off your Mohican and hang up your bondage trousers for good.

So, what IS the motivation that encourages international superstars to immerse themselves in a sordid little world of product promotion on TV? It’s a difficult one.

Money, do you think? Are the likes of David Bowie (mineral water) Ringo Starr (pizza) and Eric Clapton (beer) so hard up that they need to do this sort of work to keep the wolf from the door? Or maybe they actually believe that the product they are promoting is wonderful beyond words. (Unlikely with Clapton – he’s gone through rehab for alcohol abuse.)

Another possibility is that they lost bets. Or that a relative / lover / associate owns the company and the musical maestros owe them a favour. Or maybe they are just greedy for cash. You be the judge.

Drew McAdam


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