Is ‘Lust for Life’ the worst ad song ever?

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Arnold Worldwide may have a recording of an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator answering phones at its New York office, but the Havas shop may have more in common with a different California governor—Ronald Reagan. Reagan, of course, famously used Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” as his campaign song in 1984. (Never mind lyrics like “Got in a little hometown jam/So they put a rifle in my hand/Sent me off to a foreign land/To go and kill the yellow man.”) Now, Slate readers are ridiculing Arnold client Royal Caribbean Cruises for a similar “incongruous soundtrack,” declaring “Lust for Life” by Iggy Pop to be the “Worst Ad Song Ever.” “Nothing says maritime comfort like a song about shooting up junk,” writes one reader. (Conveniently excised from the ad are these lines: “Here comes Johnny Yen again/With liquor and drugs/And a fast machine/He’s gonna do another strip tease.”) Also earning jeers: Wrangler’s use of CCR’s “Fortunate Son” and Mercedes’ use of Janis Joplin’s tongue-in-cheek “Mercedes-Benz.” The kicker? She drove a Porsche.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
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