Ad Boy Got Rhythm

Staffers at Bozell’s New York office will hear a familiar voice singing in a new TV spot for Valvoline’s Zerex anti-freeze/coolant: The soulful strains of creative director Rodney Underwood provide the background music for the ad.
Underwood might spend his days cranking out campaigns, but by night he is a blues musician, singing in Manhattan bars.
“I never tried to cross music with my advertising career,” said Underwood. That is until it came time for the client to choose music for the Zerex spot.
The ad shows corroded car parts labeled with their relative price tags. Underwood figured that the wordless, relatively uncluttered ad lent itself to “Broke Down Car,” a blues song he wrote and has performed for three years. He threw it in among the contenders. The song made it to the final round of three tunes until he admitted it was his composition, voice and guitar playing.
By then the client was hooked. Ads with Underwood’s song will air during ABC college football in October.
“It was such a fluke,” Underwood said. -Sloane Lucas