Issue: September 1, 2005


So what is a musical mash-up? Well, according to Wikipedia, it "consists of the combination [usually by digital means] of the music from one song with the a capella from another. Typically, the music and vocals belong to completely different genres." For agencies that are trying to find the best way to sell their clients' product, this attention-getting "bastard pop song" is a nice solution.

Michael Menlo, executive producer at BBDO, Detroit, recently requested a musical mash-up that used something old and something new on a series of spots for Dodge Charger. "Dodge was reintroducing the Charger, but they didn't want to rely on the heritage of the old Charger muscle car to introduce this one," says Menlo. "The core of the advertising strategy was modern muscle."

For Dodge "we always felt that Nazareth's 'Hair of the Dog' song captured the prowess of the brand, and given that that song is of the muscle car era, we thought it would be great to make it contemporary by mashing it with a hip-hop track." They landed on a song called "Live and Loose" by an emerging hip-hop artist named Chris Classic.

"A mash-up, for our purposes, was more powerful than just licensing a well-known piece of music because it was something that was never heard before," explains Menlo. "It took something old and made it new again?just refreshed. It was incredibly familiar because of the anchor track."

BBDO, Detroit, worked with New York's JSM Music, who created the mash-up. Chris Classic is one of 30 recording artists and composers on staff at JSM. New York's Production Advisors licensed the Nazareth track and worked with JSM. (For more on Production Advisors, see our story on page 16.)

The mash-up has taken on a life of its own after Chrysler received thousands of inquiries about the music from the Charger campaign. A music video featuring Chris Classic has been shot, and the new song, "Unleashed," is available for download as a full-length song at Music Match and iTunes.

"Production Advisors and JSM worked together so there is a revenue share for Daimler Chrysler with each download," says Menlo. "The total collaboration, going from just a piece of music to taking on a life of its own due to requests that Chrysler has gotten, has created a whole new life for the song."