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That’s Not Exactly What I Want—

—namely, a Taco Bell commercial that includes a snippet of the Flying Lizards’s brilliant cover of “Money”:

The commercial excerpts a few of the “That’s what I want” bits. I guess the song’s ironically naked avarice was lost on Yum! Brands?

There’s also an official video for the song, but for some reason the volume is super-low:

  • A. D. Jameson is the author of five books, most recently I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING: STAR WARS AND THE TRIUMPH OF GEEK CULTURE and CINEMAPS: AN ATLAS OF 35 GREAT MOVIES (with artist Andrew DeGraff). Last May, he received his Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the Program for Writers at UIC.

18 thoughts on “That’s Not Exactly What I Want—

  1. It’s like Carnival Cruises using Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life,” but leaving out all the lyrics that reference heroin and street life. We are just dumb enough to recognize a hip song we enjoy, not question the lyrics or context surrounding the song, and associate our pleasant recognition with the brand that co-opted it. I’m ready for a three gordita combo!

  2. Am I missing something? I assume that like most bands (Arcade Fire, Sleigh Bells, stupid Moby most recently), all songs by most indy bands are for sale to the highest commercial bidder. Did Taco B twist Lizard’s arm behind their back? If not, I think we can assume that Lizard was telling it straight: “that’s what I want.”

    1. I don’t know who controls the rights to sell what. (Maybe the songs are autonomous by this point?) And I don’t fault the Flying Lizards for wanting money (and even being honest about it). I’m just surprised that Taco Bell can’t see their own deconstruction.

      …Actually, I’m not even surprised by that. Rather, I’m…amused by it? Is amusement still a legitimate emotion?

      I threw my TV out the window, after inscribing it with the lyrics to “Thriller,” using day-glo pink lipstick that I’d purchased at Hot Topic; I thought that was the necessary sacrifice. But when will postmodernism be over, Curt?

        1. So by that logic, the Taco Bell folks say, “This song makes us look like avaricious fools, but fuck that, no one will notice?” Or something like that?

          1. “Avaricious fools”. Interesting. They are a fast food chain- I think we can assume they want to make money and I think they probably assume that people notice what they are doing. I’m confused why they are fools?

                1. Well, if you know of other commercials where companies explicitly say, “We’re greedy and want your money,” by all means let me know. In my experience, they’re typically not so forthcoming.

                  1. I sort of assumed that all commercials were obviously about wanting our money and that even a child knows that.

                    And why are they fools? Please explain that comment if you could.

                    1. Of course advertising is about someone making money. Everyone knows that, as you note. But ads don’t usually explicitly acknowledge that. Everyone also knows that, I think.

                      Almost every ad I’ve seen performs a sleight of hand, drawing attention away from the financial exchange that’s really on offer. For instance, they might indicate that I will spend very little money (cheap!). Or that I will get a tremendous value for my money. Or that I will be purchasing fun, or sex, or excitement, or even something I really need.

                      Are we in agreement so far? If so, what I rarely see are advertisements in which corporations explicitly acknowledge that they really want my money, and fuck everything else.

                      I imagine it would be foolish for a corporation to do that, since I doubt it would be good for them to remind consumers that they are not their friends, and that they don’t have their best interests at stake.

                      That’s about as carefully as I can explain my initial comment, which I thought pretty straightforward to begin with. Let me know, though, if I can clarify further.

  3. I understand your opinion, now including why you think the ad people are fools, but I don’t agree with you. I have no doubt that the marketing people hired are three steps ahead of you and are not fools. Nor do I think that the Beatles and the Flying Lizards are being ironic. So we just have to disagree on this one.

    1. I don’t know whether the Flying Lizards or the Beatles were being ironic. But Barrett Strong most certainly was.

      And marketing people are usually four steps ahead of me, not three. But I do think my initial point still stands: not sure song that best choice 4 ad.

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