Using popular music in television commercials is nothing new. Neither is the controversy that often follows when a beloved artist or song is part of an ad campaign, which some fans see as blatantly “selling out” artistic integrity for a quick buck.
For emerging Boston band Passion Pit, fan reaction to their song “Take a Walk” from the band’s second full-length Gossamer being used in a Taco Bell TV ad campaign has been as swift as it’s been divisive.
Some fans are excited to hear their favorite band as part of the commercials, which also utilizes images from popular social network site Instagram:
I love that Passion Pit's song Take a Walk is in @tacobell's commercial. Greatest things in the world.—
Kaylen Kendall ⛵ (@KaylenKitty) September 17, 2012
Passion pit in a taco bell commercial.... perfect combination—
Michelle (@mcsheldon) September 16, 2012
Other fans are less than thrilled to have Passion Pit’s music associated with Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos tacos, and have not been shy about expression their dissenting opinion:
Hearing passion pit in a taco bell commercial is like seeing my grandma in Baywatch THIS IS NOT OKAY—
Blake J Pevensie (@blakejp) September 16, 2012
I'm all for musicians making money from their music, but hearing Passion Pit in a Taco Bell commercial is still a bit soul crushing...—
Mike Bailey (@oldmanjukebox) September 09, 2012
“This is totally a different age,” said Michael Angelakos, Passion Pit’s lead singer and songwriter about the ads during an exclusive Q&A before performing in the Red Bull Sound Space recently. “A lot of older artists are adamantly against the usage of their music in commercials. They can actually afford to turn that down.
“What does Taco Bell have to do with three of my family members struggling financially…I have no idea,” Angelakos continued, referencing the song’s bleak lyrical content. “But, it’s not about that. It’s not about promoting celebrities or giant corporations or anything like that. It’s just airtime…It’s an amazing opportunity. And, honestly, you take what you can get. I say no to about 90 percent of the offers, but we just want people to hear the music at end of the day.”
This is not Passion Pit’s first dalliance with Taco Bell. Back in 2010, they were part of a slew of bands – including Best Coast, Dr. Dog, Wavves and Andrew W.K. – that received $500 in Taco Bell gift cards to take on tour as part of fast-food chain’s ongoing “Feed the Beat” campaign. Among the acts getting hooked up with those $500 Taco Bell gift cards in 2012? Imagine Dragons, Shiny Toy Guns, the Lumineers and EDM sensations Dillon Francis and Datsik.
–Scott T. Sterling, CBS Local