You ever hear a song you know in the background of a commercial? Of course you have, that’s how our capitalist, marketing overlords get ya. We embarked on a lengthy YouTube rabbit hole adventure to present you with a list that celebrates twenty of the coolest metal related commercials around, featuring everything from Suffocation headbanging with The History Channel, to Steel Panther's unofficial debut via Discover Card. We've gone ahead and assembled a list featuring the unholy union between advertisement executives and metal fiends. Enjoy the trip!
Nine Inch Nails – Levis
Ah, the 1990’s. When the music industry and the retail industry had infinite amounts of cash, creating expensive ads [music videos/commercials] for captive television audiences…before the internet broke their ancient pyramid scheme for good. That’s how we wound up with this uber discordant Nine Inch Nails song in this grimy art house nightmare commercial for Levis jeans. Nowadays the Google/Facebook masters shoot niche advertisements into our lives by monitoring our every move, aka weird commercials for weird people. The thought of that wild NIN commercial appearing on regular ol’ monoculture national television is nuts!
Scorpions – Fiber One
“Rock You Like a Hurricane” was made to sell you shit. It sold millions of rock & metal fans on The Scorpions back in the day. According to The Simpsons’ nefarious Sideshow Bob, the song sells average Joe’s on attending air shows [LINK to classic Simpsons vid provided HERE] and in this bizarre Fiber One commercial, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” is used to wow audiences with this nourishing, bowel regulating snack bar; pulling a double whammy and helping to sell & produce actual shit. Again this song is an ad executive’s dream. The hooks on this tune could sell water to a shark!
Quizno's Power Metal Cookie
Back when there was a Quizno’s in my neck of the woods, before the company hit hard times and folded thousands of locations nationwide, this here author was known to enjoy a classic Italian sandwich on occasion. Sometimes, maybe even a cookie…or two. With that being said, this spirited Quizno’s power metal tinged ad brings a smile to my face. A faux band fronted by someone with an uncanny resemblance to DragonForce axe slinger Herman Li, are rocking out on a giant floating cookie, using operatic vocals and infectious guitar harmonies to entice people to get their grub on. Mission accomplished…lets eat.
Iron Maiden – Lucozade
Somehow, someway, Iron Maiden’s epic, swashbuckling air guitar anthem, “Phantom of The Opera” was featured in a British sports drink commercial back in the 1980’s. Being an isolated American millennial, this humble author had no idea what Lucozade sports drink, or who Olympic decathlon hero Daley Thompson are. But the opening notes to “Phantom of The Opera” are universal symbols of awesomeness so this quickly goes down as one of the coolest metal themed commercials around. Daley chugs his British Gatorade as Maiden kicks into high gear and then he sprints off to capture more medals and glory. This makes sense on so many levels. Up The Irons!
System of a Down – Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat was the most violent fighting game in the universe back in the day. Nothing riled kids up like a nailing a gnarly fatality [although ‘friendship’ was pretty rad/humiliating in its own right]. You know what else riles up the masses like no other? System of a Down! As we reported from their massive sold out reunion gig last year, nothing moves a crowd of 50,000+ people like System. Combining Mortal Kombat with SOAD is a no brainer. Hopefully the band perform with a Raiden hologram one day, or crank out a CGI music video with Goro.
Ben Koller/Mutoid Man – Zildjian
Wayne’s World was a brilliantly absurd comedy, and iconic nod to the rock’n’roll/heavy metal culture of yore. Garth Algar was Wayne’s loyal sidekick and drum enthusiast who fantasizes about bashing skins in the big leagues one day, played by funnyman and actual drummer, Dana Carvey. 25 years later, the folks at Zildjian teamed up with Converge/Mutoid Man drummer [and funnyman] Ben Koller, to recreate some Wayne’s World magic to honor the anniversary of the film and their A custom cymbals. The result is an awesome homage to Guitar Center jammers everywhere.
Van Halen – Nissan
Toy Story was a game changer back in the mid 90’s. The first computer animated feature film, about toys coming to life and creating hi-jinx, boasted a clever marketing campaign featuring Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town” [the TOYS are back in town…eh eh?!] and was astronomically successful. Is it any wonder the next year Nissan rolls out this stop motion animated commercial about toys coming to life and creating hi-jinx featuring Van Halen [covering The Kinks]? We think not. If G.I. Joes did come to life and steal hot Barbies from their yuppie Ken boyfriends, they would probably listen to David Lee Roth era Van Halen while doing so.
ZYX Black Metal Lozenges
Zyx eucalyptus lozenges work wonders. According to this genius advert, these miraculous sore throat drops transforms the ferocious rasp of a Scandinavian black metal singer, into the heavenly croon of a power metal wizard. It’s strangely awesome watching the band film their music video in full black metal regalia, then warming themselves by the fire off camera. The fact that extreme music for extreme people is so matter of fact in Nordic countries always blows this confused American lad’s mind.
Exmortus – Virgin Mobile Galaxy s5
Metal heads are people. If you prick us, will we not bleed? If you snap us, will we not use the dog/hoe filter? We use smart phones too dammit. How the Southern California shred lords in Exmortus joined up with the folks at Virgin Mobile is beyond me, but damn if they didn’t knock this Galaxy s5 commercial out of the park. The black metal meets Black Sabbath tune isn’t what the world renowned thrashers are known for, but that guttural “Unlimited DATAAA” line is a stroke of genius so enjoy!
Metallica – ESPN
Metallica have dominated the music business since their discovery of sonic gold on The Black Album. They’ve done their fair share of promos and commercials over the years but there’s something about this ESPN ad that sets it apart. Maybe because we’ve seen the band’s inner workings in A Year and a Half in The Life and Some Kind of Monster before, the faux documentary style of this Sportscenter spot seems like it could be a real thing somehow? Also, Kirk’s sad attempt at recruiting guitar students in the ESPN break room is perfect.
Chelsea Wolfe – Jaguar
Chelsea Wolfe rules. Sonically, her music covers a lot of bases but one of the major ones, is heavy ass metal. Her 2015 album Abyss has proved fertile ground for film trailers. The track “Survive” was used in the Live By Night trailer, and “Carrion Flowers” in the trailer for Dark Places . It’s the latter song’s use in this 2017 Jaguar commercial that sparked the idea for this list in our feeble brain last year. Haunting. gorgeous and the heaviest luxury car advert you'll probably ever find, it's a sick commercial, for a rad song. Oh yeah, this post was not sponsored by Jaguar or Sargent House in anyway [yet, crosses fingers!].
Led Zeppelin – Cadillac
In their prime, Zeppelin were the biggest band in the universe. After their unfortunate demise, the band kept its music library under wraps and out of the grubby hands of corporate parasites for decades; until…this 2002 Cadillac commercial that reshaped the 21st century marketing landscape overnight. For a small fortune, Cadillac nabbed the rights to Led Zeppelin’s hit “Rock and Roll” and jump shot their sales with aging baby boomers into the stratosphere overnight. The feeding frenzy for big dollar rock nostalgia went into over drive, and we can thank this Gary Sinise narrated auto commercial for the last two decades of, well you know.
Steel Panther – Discover Card
Steel Panther, everyone’s favorite comedic, 80’s glam metal tour de force; previously existed as Metal Skool, and before that Metal Shop. There’s another name they went by in this early 2000’s Discover commercial: Danger Kitty. Spoofing the popular VH1 Behind The Music format, crunched down to a 30 second TV spot, Steel Pan…er, Danger Kitty’s story is the rise and fall of glam metal icons who go from dominating the charts, to playing Bar Mitzvahs in The Valley. Shout out to Discover for prepping for the world for Steel Panther’s inevitable rise to power; and for releasing an actual “Love Rocket” single/CD back in the day because honestly, that song rules.
Suffocation – The History Channel
This is not a typo or mix up. Suffocation was featured in an ad campaign for the History Channel’s special series on The Dark Ages back in 2007. In this commercial, The band plays their song “Bind Torture Kill” from their 2006 self-titled album, while an extremely knowledgeable janitor lectures a co-worker about the deeds of barbarian tribes and how uber violent Visigoths naturally paved the way for super brutal death metal. It’s a leap for sure but how rad is it to see and hear friggin Suffocation on television?! The History Channel no less. I doubt when the guys were penning lyrics for “Infecting The Crypts” back in the day they’d ever think they’d be associated with a historical documentary dealing with actual, ancient crypts. Still don’t know why the two custodians are wearing earmuffs either…we all Frank’s growl would tear those things to pieces.
Godsmack – Navy
The United States Navy is easily the mightiest fleet in the history of the world, and they’ve also produced some of the coolest goddamn recruitment commercials. Whether you’re an anti-imperialist SJW, or a MAGA Stormtrooper, there’s no denying how down right cinematic and well-crafted these Navy commercials are. Part of their genius, aside from casting Keith David as narrator supreme, is their use of Godsmack tunes in the ads. That’s right, Godsmack supplied their song “Awake” for exhibit A embedded above, then brought “Sick of Life” to the table for this second commercial you can view HERE . The riffs, Sully’s roar, the masterful cuts in editing, if these ads didn’t boost enlistment during the 2000s [while two wars were raging] they definitely played a role in Call of Duty sales skyrocketing.
Motley Crue – Coldwell Banker
Here you’ll find the Crue’s biggest power ballad, coopted for the slickest but strangely endearing real estate commercial. The slow motion shots of the dog looking out the car window and the boy diving into the swimming pool sync perfectly with Tommy Lee’s piano and makes this commercial more poignant than should be allowed. This montage of people experiencing jovial moments in their private residences while Vince Neil screeches the lyrics to “Home Sweet Home” is so simple but effective it boggles the mind. The closing hashtag ‘#homerocks’ seals it. Take a walk on the wild side, and get yourself a mortgage.
Judas Priest – TV Land
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT ITS LIKE…to see such an awesome metal tinged television commercial; until now! The TV Land network spliced together a cool montage of different characters from the channel’s roster of classic/old school shows engaged in various degrees of, crime…I guess. Either way, the end result is a silly 30 second TV spot with characters from Little House On The Prairie, The Andy Griffith Show, Three’s Company and more; finding themselves on the wrong side of the law, as Judas Priest’s timeless anthem “Breaking The Law” cranks in the background. It’s a short clip, but really makes me want to watch TV Land for some reason.
Motorhead – KIA
There’s nothing quite as entertaining as watching a CGI baby hamster, Jason Bourne his way out of a hospital and into a slick riding automobile [of what I assume are its parents?], while Motorhead’s indomitable, “Ace of Spades” blares in the background. It’s not just any car however, it’s the 2017 Kia Soul Turbo mind you. Although silly, the production value on this commercial is stellar and it was marvelous hearing ol’ Lemmy’s voice booming on TV, movie screens, on YouTube and wherever else they played this ad when it premiered. Lemmy might have passed on, but Motorhead’s fearless no fucks given spirit is alive and well, thanks to Turbo the baby hamster.
Pantera – Carl’s Jr./Hardees
“I’M HUNGRY! INHERIT MY FRIIEEEEES.” Sorry, it had to be done. Pantera’s
“I’m Broken” thrown into a juicy ass burger advertisment is the most American thing imaginable next to Godsmack’s Navy commercial. It helps that “I’m Broken” is one of Pantera’s most iconic bangers, with a riff so mighty it’ll stop traffic and turn/snap heads at any time. That’s the kind of song you want playing when you’re trying to bring attention to your new burger variant. Also, that bit with the food and plates launching into the air makes sense, mimicking Phil Anselmo’s jumps in the song’s official video. Did this make you want to eat Carl’s Jr or just listen to Far Beyond Driven again? Plot twist…why not do both?
KFC Black Metal Appropriation
No official metal bands were harmed during the filming of this commercial, where a fictional black metal group rocks the house before enjoying some hellfire roasted Kentucky Fried Chicken. The song is more death metal than black, but the corpse paint and stage theatrics are a dead giveaway that black metal is what they’re going for here. Not sure if KFC ever cornered the troo kvlt carnivore market, but kudos to them for churning out such a fun commercial. Spicy chicken ist krieg.
What are some of your favorite metal commercials? What bands/brand advertisements do you love to be seduced by?!