This isn’t quite relevant to packaging, per se, but for branding and marketing purposes, I feel the need to mention the various television commercials I’m hearing with oldies and classic rock songs. It really hit me this past year. I say “hearing” because I’m not sure if I actually see the commercial. I may be washing dishes, eating dinner or doing laundry with the TV on for background noise, but be sure that when one of these songs come on, I’m singing along.

JCPenney’s recent commercial uses Redbone’s classic, “Come and Get Your Love”; while one Cadillac ad, released on Super Bowl 2018, features Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll.” Dodge offered a double whammy with Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” along with Nazareth’s “Hair of the Dog.” Pepsi is known for its commercials in song — most notably with Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and the hair fire incident on stage. The beverage giant also brought The Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar” as well as “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf to TV.

I can go on and on: Coca-Cola’s use of “Slider” by T. Rex and Barry White’s “You’re My First, My Last, My Everything”; Walmart’s “The Best Things in Life Are Free” by Sam Cooke; Dr. Pepper’s “You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate; Rare Earth singing “I Just Want to Celebrate” for Gatorade; and M&M serenading audiences with Hughes Corporation’s “Rock the Boat.” Oh! And Planters’ “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers.

Using song to lure TV listeners in with the hope that consumers will relate to the product is not new. Its purpose? To do what it does for me: think about one’s youth and a happy, carefree time with no bills, no house payment and no work hours. And, as a child of the ’70s, I’m happy to reflect back through familiar tunes. 

Retailers and brands obviously feature newer songs since target audiences range in age. Target uses a few at any given time, including Chaka Khan’s “Like Sugar.” Others include Godsmack for the U.S. Navy ad and OneRepublic’s “Connection” for Jeep. Of course, we can’t forget Apple commercials vying for attention with various hits such as “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet and “Ride” by The Vines. You get it. 

Think this can’t be done with packaging? It can. With smart packaging like augmented reality, brands can include various features as an innovative way to interact with consumers — such as storytelling.

This month, we reveal some of the top packaging innovations of 2018 including storytelling using AR, digital printing, omnichannel marketing, cannabis, pet food and other trends and packaging “wows.” See what transpired, on page 14.

What is your favorite commercial in song? I would love to know your thoughts.