Freedom of Toys

Will “Whip It” by new wave legends Devo-a hit that’s now 18 years old-make 8-13-year-old boys think yo-yos are cool?
New York’s GFS/Levinson Group is using the 1980 anthem from the band’s “Freedom of Choice” LP to give its new ad for Duncan’s Trans-AXtion yo-yo a nonconformist hipness.
Agency creative director Joel Levinson sees an advantage in kids’ lack of familiarity with the song: “If we can own the whole phrase “Whip It,’ it has a wider reach.”
The spot features three boys performing complex tricks such as “walking the dog” and “around the world” to a synth-funk beat. The lyrics: “There’s a new yo-yo going ’round/You must whip it … Whip it good.”
Devo bass player Gerald Casale re-recorded the song and directed the ad.
“Our attitude was, someone is inevitably going to parody the song, so we might as well do it ourselves,” he said.
He has no qualms about the use of Devo songs in commercials. “People [who] think the artist can exist outside of the corporate world are incredibly na™ve,” Casale said.
-Emily Fromm