This article was originally published on reverb, Drake Cooper’s reflections on advertising, creativity, and trends. Read more.

Nature’s Not In It. Or is it?

Being a nerdy music lover, I was very interested in the musical selection for the new Microsoft Kinect for X Box 360 TV ads. There are several ads running that were developed by agency Two Fifteen, but one in particular caught my ear since it featured a killer riff from a somewhat obscure post punk band from a few decades ago.

I honestly was not a huge Gang of Four fan back in 1979 when the band released the album Entertainment, but since I have discovered it and rediscovered it and can appreciate the band’s creativity in forging new ground in that era. The guitar style is unforgettable and has been borrowed by a lot of indie artists that we hear today.

For whatever reason, a buddy of mine and I were discussing this album back during the summer (prior to these ads), and I had been listening to the exact track that is used in one of the TV spots. Weird how things like that happen in life sometimes. The track is called “Nature’s Not In It.” My own interpretation of this song is about the human struggles of commercialism and selling out. Thus the title. There is a lot of meat lurking in the seemingly simple lyrics depending on your interpretation and where your mind takes you. Or maybe not.

Regardless, the good news is that the intensity of the song fits the energy of the ad and the product, which is probably the most important thing since we are talking about a few second long snippet.  A guitar riff basically. A killer guitar riff. I doubt anyone is really analyzing the lyrical content of the song anyway.

From what I read, the advertising is getting mixed reviews and although I really like the campaign myself, I do not know enough about the overall strategy to say whether it will be successful. Even harder to say how Gang of Four influences X Box sales. Who knows.

The original Gang of Four band members, namely co-founder Dave Allen, have gone on to do lots of things besides this original band. Even so, a few extra sales for a album that came out on vinyl when most Kinect players (and the idea of digital music) were not even thought about, is probably an OK thing for the Gang of Four gang. At this point in the life cycle of that album, maybe a nice bonus?

All in all, it still seems like a strange twist of fate to hear this song being used to sell that product. But damn that is a great guitar riff.

If you want to read more on the half billion dollar campaign from Microsoft, check out this recent article in Advertising Age.