Kmart: Back to School (2012)
Track: "Phunkshock" by Matroda
Is this the death knell of dubstep? This is actually one of the better dubstep tracks used in ads. But it's hard to believe there can still be anything hip or underground about a musical genre that has now been used to sell $10 Dickies to the suburban youth of America. Agency: Draftfcb, Chicago.
Southern Comfort Fiery Pepper (2011)
Track: "Burn It Down" by Crush Effect and Vokab Kompany.
Nothing says "two great-tasting Louisiana classics" quite like the musical stylings of south London. Actually, the track for Southern Comfort is the creation of two California-based acts, and it seems to have sparked a bit of attention for an ad that might otherwise go unnoticed. Still, I'm not sold on dubstep being the right pick for a slow-motion ode to swamp flavors. Agency: Arnold.
Weetabix Chocolate Spoonsize (2011)
Track: "A New World" by Mord Fustang.
This is the first dubstep ad I remember seeing, and it's still one of the better ones out there because it incorporates a real street dancer (then-9-year-old Arizona Snow). While it had a certain amount of cred, it's still an ad for children's cereal, meaning other family-friendly brands were sure to follow. Agency: BBH, London.
Track: "Nerd Up" by DJ Amp Live (custom for the ad).
Remember the sensory overload of 1980s candy commercials? Well, that's about what you get in this 2012 spot for Nerds. The looping vocals and signature dubstep tempo changes are downright disorienting when paired with the surreal animation. Agency: Dailey, which actually has a non-dubstep version of the spot on its site.
Microsoft Surface (2012)
Track: "SRFC in C Minor" by Keith Rivers Films.
Possibly inspired by the dark, hard-edged work that unveiled Droid to the world as a viable iPhone competitor, Microsoft's first promotional clip for the Surface tablet featured an aggressive dubstep track and a cold-steel visual vibe. The result is a bit like the lovechild of Trent Reznor and Kraftwerk. At the very least, there's no confusing it for an Apple ad. Agency: None. (It was made by 22-year-old unknown Caleb Slain.)
Ovaltine (2012 parody by the The Verge)
"After seeing Microsoft's Surface teaser video, we decided that dubstep is being overused in advertising," writes tech-news website The Verge. "We put this together to illustrate that point." The result is pretty great. And while it highlights the silliness of dubstep overload, it also makes me kinda want a glass of Ovaltine.
Track: "Louder" by DJ Fresh.
British energy drink Lucozade helped bring old-school roller skating back into the mainstream with this well-shot spot. As always, the addition of lyrics softens the mechanical intensity of the dubstep, but the result is some good energy for an ad that's basically 155 seconds of talented kids goofing around.
Track: "Reanimation" by Lenny D'Orlando.
YouTube dance sensation Marquese "Nonstop" Scott has been quite a hot advertising commodity himself in recent months, starring in spots for Coca-Cola, Roomba and Peugeot. But he really plays to his dubstep roots in this lengthy clip for Audio-Technica headphones. Agency: GeniusRocket.
ChildLine U.K. (2011)
Track: "Spiral" by Matta.
An intense dubstep track lends some adrenaline to the usual sleepy genre of teen helpline PSAs. This spot for the U.K.'s ChildLine has racked up more than 1 million views online. Browsing through the YouTube comments, it's clear that most viewers were there to discuss the song, not the service. But hey, whatever gets the message out.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (2012)
Track: Custom for the ad.
Dubstep has been milked pretty hard by the video-game industry over the past year, but it definitely works as a sonic backdrop for the upcoming Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. Robots slamming each other around in space require a suitably metallic dance track. Or in the words of the bard: Me, Grimlock, love heavy drops.