Reebok – Migration (with Vashti Bunyan soundtrack)

With one of the best music pairings i’ve seen for a commercial in a long time comes this new ad for Reebok named Migration. The song used is Train Song by Vashti Bunyan (from her Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind album). In this commercial we are shown that NFL players, similar to some of the animal mascots that represent a few teams, have a migratory pattern of their own. From their off-season life at home to their pre-season training camps, this spot follows various teams on their journey to the eventual end – the stadium. The last scene is of the New York Giants in a geese-like V formation striding towards Giants Stadium at dawn.

The firm responsible for this commercial was six year old New York agency mcgarrybowen led by former Y&R top dogs John P McGarry Jr, Stewart Owen and Gordon Bowen. They’ve recently won a few high-profile accounts: Kraft, Verizon, JP Morgan, an assignment from HP and the list keep going… too bad their website’s creative concept was found in some designers waste bin circa 1999. I challenge you to last more than 30 seconds on that site before wanting to blow your brains out. Why music? Why!? Somebody should tell them that giving your website a soundtrack doesn’t make it more “edgy” or “web 2.0,” it only makes the site unbearable. If you’re working at an advertising agency then there’s already a very good chance your website is outdated and boring, adding music or any other website cliche just makes it 5x more apparent that you don’t get interactive.

As for my praise on the song selection used in this commercial? The artist’s name is Vashti Bunyan, a London born singer-songwriter originally made famous in the 1970’s for her folk songs. If you’re not a supporter of previous mcgarrybowen work, then you’re undoubtably making the cynical connection between the age in when her music was first popular and the age in which its top executives were teenagers. To all you young folks, or to any fans of current indie-folk, you’re probably wondering if this is the same Vashti that appeared on recent Devendra Banhart and Animal Collective albums. The answer is yes. Her music has seen somewhat of a mini-revival in the last few years due to artists like Banhart and Joanna Newsom publicly attributing her as one of their major creative influences. Regardless, I’m a firm believer that songs can take on new meaning when paired with a visual story (and vice-versa). I’ve heard this song before, but wasn’t a fan until seeing this spot. Nice job.

Andrew Conklin and Justin Kaswan were the Art Director/Copywriter duo for mcgarrybowen (with Katya Bankowsky as the Agency Producer and Craig Romney as the Music Producer). Janusz Kaminski from Independent Media was the Director with Susanne Preissler and Lindsay Skutch as the EP/Line Producers. Akkiko Iwakawa-Grieve was the Editor for Final Cut NY (Greg Flick was the Assistant Editor and Summer Raymond was the Producer). Absolute NY did the Post-Production work with Nathan Kane as the Lead VFX/Inferno Artist. Dirk Greene and Daniel Morris were both Flame Artists for this commercial (Nirad is credited as the Producer). James, Michael Smith gets credit for Combustion work. Audio Mixer for this piece was Peter Holcomb with Sound Lounge.

Once again (if it hasn’t been repeated enough), the song used in this commercial was Train Song by Vashti Bunyan.

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