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When the commercial makes the song

Watch TV in New York? I bet you’ve had a certain song stuck your head. It’s from a commercial for scratch-off lottery tickets, it’s totally infectious, and it goes, “Are you all you ready, are you ready, get set, are ready get set, are you ready?” Here’s the commercial I’m talking about:

This is part of a print and TV campaign for the New York Lottery which started running in May. Created by DDB New York, the ad is called “Any Minute Now” and includes the copy lines “Good things happen in an instant,” and “Be ready. Play instant games.”

The visual gag, of course, is that you’d better dress for a vacation, since your lifestyle could change quickly if you win the lottery. (Direct link to the commercial.)

The lottery buys a lot of feel-good ads like this, and only thing remarkable about this one is that song. It’s called “Are You Ready?” by Fatty Gets A Stylist, a project of the Australian singer/songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke and collaborator Keir Nuttall.

Update: This song was originally released with the artist listed as “Fatty Gets a Stylist,” a project of Kate Miller-Heidke. It’s now available on Kate Miller-Heidke’s “Liberty Bell” album.

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The song is so catchy that I expect it to have a long life beyond state lottery ads. According to Miller-Heidke’s Twitter feed, the band actually rushed the U.S. release of the album because of the ad campaign.

A New York Times story says the song was suggested for the lottery campaign by Eric Johnson, executive producer for music and integration at DDB Chicago. Both the agency and the client were smitten as soon as they heard it.

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Once in a while, an average commercial is made excellent by the right song selection. By the same token, an obscure song can rocket to popularity by the right placement in an ad. Here we see both things happening. The song makes the commercial, and the commercial makes the song.

Music labels actively pitch songs to ad agencies. The labels send sampler disks of catchy, marketable new music to people who select music for ads and TV shows. I don’t have first-hand experience dealing with music licensing for commercials, but I’ve heard of cases where the song is provided for free under the assumption that the artist will benefit from the publicity. An example is Sting’s “Desert Rose,” which his management provided for a Jaguar commercial in 2000 because they knew Sting’s record would be helped by the exposure.

I assume free placement happens most often with new artists. It used to be considered very un-rock-and-roll to have your song used in a commercial. But today, getting your song in an ad for a hip brand such as Apple or Volkswagen feels like a legit and effective way to introduce new music.

My takeaway: Lottery tickets are a waste of money. Spend your dollar instead to download the song “Are You Ready?”

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Bonus: If you enjoy “Are You Ready?” by Kate Miller-Heidke, here’s the full song (via YouTube). It will be stuck in your head the rest of the day!

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Who created this ad?

DDB New York, under chief creative officer Matt Eastwood

Who signed off on it?

Gordon Medenica, director of the New York Lottery

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising, Lyrics

21 comments

  1. brutony says:

    I HATE this fu*kin commercial, and that song? AAAAAGGGHHHH!!!! Whenver I hear it, of course its soo loud, and gets louder as the commercial goes on and on!

  2. CookieHaid says:

    “the song was suggested for the lottery campaign by Eric Johnson”
    Thanks, I was wondering who to kill. The song is utter sugary poppy crap.

  3. trussell says:

    No question it’s catchy and infectious, but stupidly murkey, Should we prepare emergency supplies for natural disasters or terrorist attack? Why the hospital scene? How should we be getting ready, and for what? This is a disgraceful waste of lotery funds. Take the money squandered on this muddled obtuse commercial and distribute it to lotery ticket buyers as prizes.

  4. trussell says:

    Oops, I meant lottery ticket buyers

  5. Laura says:

    Love it!!!!!

  6. michael c says:

    song + visuals = torture. ruins the morning news every time.

  7. CR Brooklyn says:

    It only gets in my head if I don’t press MUTE, which I’ve gotten good at. This song sucks, the keyboard part has two fricking chords, and the vocalist sounds like some 14-year-old hip hop chick who doesn’t know how to sing any deeper than from her throat.

  8. anonymous says:

    LOVE it! It’s catchy and makes you listen a little harder to decipher the lyrics. Hence, it’s done it’s job! It’s silly, so it’s fun. the only one I enjoy more is the KIA “Hamsterdam” commercial.

  9. james r says:

    great catchy tune. makes you listen

  10. Max says:

    I think its great. Come’ on people its silly fun. Not everything has to be drama.

  11. Tommie Chick says:

    I think the song is great and I like all
    the commercials. As a musician and a guitar
    player I think it is very catchy.

  12. MiTT says:

    Guess some people just don’t get it :-
    That’s unfortunate.

    Love it!

    Are you ready, get set, LET’S GO! :-D

  13. dennis says:

    Excellent, catchy; makes for a good commercial and a good philosophy for life.

  14. Holger says:

    love the song – perfect fit for the lottery!

  15. dave says:

    frickin love it! come on everybody lighten up, it’s better than all that rap crap.

  16. Kevin says:

    As a musician, I respect all types of music. This song makes me want to throw up every time I hear it. It actually enrages me…

  17. carlos says:

    They’re just pissed cause they couldn’t do what this song writer did ..The Song is Great…

    Former Sound man for ramones, Joan Jet..ect ;-)

  18. Sev says:

    I Love this song and the commercials during the Mets games made me search for it….

  19. Nick Vavas says:

    Very VERY catchy tune by Kate Miller-Heidke.
    “Fatty Gets A Stylist” is the name of one of the songs on the album “Liberty Bell”, not the name of the artist.
    Great song!

  20. Brian says:

    What a bunch of pretentious, cranky jerks on here. Great song and ad. Love it

  21. i love the song and am going to download it, and maybe purchase the CD. i agree the song makes the commercial, the commercials however, inspired by the idea of “get ready” are terrific. and i don’t often say that about commercials. they are subtle but funny. which is why they stick in your head and what makes good advertising.

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