Until their catchy track Rollercoaster turned up in a Maynards Candy ad, few people gave local pop pair Major Maker a second thought. Now the duo -- at the Mod Club (722 College) Saturday (August 18) -- are benefiting from big buzz. Since nobody listens to mainstream radio anymore, TV ads are becoming an indie band's best shot at success. Here are other T.O. acts who've gone commercial.
Artist Major Maker
Product Maynards Candy
Here's the pitch Hottie in Mary Quant-style sundress skips down street eating gummies; is instantly cloned. Smiley-faced folks dance silly in background to mod-sounding music.
Lyrical relevance "A new romance / every time we dance / Magic light in your hair / On the avenue."
Subliminal message Maynards is more than just wine gums! They make a world of gummies to suit your every mood! And a girl with a handful of Fuzzy Peaches is irresistible!
Upside Based on the flood of responses to the ad (60, 000 YouTube hits and counting), the profile of Lindy and Todor Kobakov's low-key Major Maker side project has skyrocketed (i.e., people actually know who they are). They're releasing Rollercoaster as a single.
Downside Cloning is creepy. And gummy treats are rumoured to inhibit your sex drive. Sticky!
Product Lacoste Essential cologne
Here's the pitch Well-groomed dude with perfectly shaggy hipster coif hopscotches along pier posts at the seashore. Waves crash dramatically (and refreshingly) as he grins.
Lyrical relevance "It may be years until the day / My dreams will match up with my pay."
Subliminal message Lacoste: for hot indie rock dudes who want to smell as good as an ocean breeze (and get dates with girls like Feist) but can't afford Hermès.
Upside Though that adorable teeny croc logo had already inspired trendy 20-somethings to reclaim the erstwhile preppy brand as their own, Feist's cred as both an indie poster girl and a reluctant fashionista nailed Lacoste's brand personality dead-on.
Downside Ad helped Mushaboom replace Inside And Out as the most overplayed song on Let It Die.
Artist Paul Reddick
Song I'm A Criminal
Here's the pitch Kwik-E-Mart cowboy almost spills his Big Gulp, oh so slyly sneaks some slurps and tops off his cup.
Lyrical relevance "I'm a criminal / Sent to swipe and steal."
Subliminal message Coke: it's for rebels. And Coke: as timeless as the blues.
Upside Mega-exposure (and decent cash) for a talented guy who deserved to get some recognition outside the gruelling local blues circuit.
Downside Other than the fact that Coke's a huge corporation with dicey politics? Not much.
Song Grow Up And Blow Away
Product Polaroid i-Zone Fortune Film
Here's the pitch Giggly girls snap a shot of a cute boy in a bookstore. Everything is floaty like a dream.
Lyrical relevance "If this is the life / Why does it feel so good to fly away ?"
Subliminal message Be young. Have fun. Document your golden years with Polaroid (it's not your parents' camera). Oh, and add cute little messages to your snapshots.
Upside Big boost for Metric at a time (2002) when their cult Grow Up And Blow Away LP was stuck in folding-label purgatory. (The album was finally given a proper release by Last Gang this year.)
Downside Changing the original lyrics ("If this is the life / Why does it feel so good to die today?") blows the song's nihilistic bent, which (especially when delivered in Emily Haines's little-girl coo) is its greatest strength.
Artist Jim Guthrie
Song Hands In My Pocket
Product Capital One
Here's the pitch Average Joes and Janes try to make it through their everyday activities while sharks in suits play pickpocket.
Lyrical relevance "Phone rings, melodic themes / Devious scheme, and then I scream / What does it mean, walking around / Hands in my pocket."
Subliminal message The Man will fuck you over, but the jovial team at Capital One is made up of good people like you and me - as pleasant and simple as a catchy pop song.
Upside Guthrie no longer lives in a closet on St. Patrick Square.
Downside Having to hear that catchy-to-a-fault tune every time you turn on the freakin' television.
Major Maker's Rollercoaster
Additional Video Clips
Maynards Candy Rollercoaster commercial
Major Maker Rollercoaster video
Lacoste Essential commercial (feat. Feist's Mushaboom)