New Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Super Bowl Ad: Black Betty

Video: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – “Black Betty” (VW ad)

It all comes back to the intersection of art and commerce… Or rather: cars and rock and roll. Over the past ten years we’ve spent a lot of time discussing what it means when a band puts its music in a commercial. From the Clash to Sting, Nick Drake to the Mooney Suzuki, Iggy Pop to Of Montreal, Led Zeppelin to Wilco. As Mac said so eloquently in 2005, we’re all Sometimes Reluctant Hookers.

Ten years on, the concept of “selling out” doesn’t even exist anymore. Which is probably fine, since neither does the concept of “buying music.”

So congratulations to Jon Spencer for getting his band on a Volkswagen ad. A Super Bowl ad, no less! Soon to be iconic, I’m sure.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, eMusic, MOG, wiki



Bank Robber Music and Deutsch LA are proud to announce that the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion will be the music behind Volkswagen’s new 21st Century Beetle ad campaign. The band recorded a version of the blues classic “Black Betty” for the spot. The :30 second spot will be premiering during Super Bowl XLV this Sunday.

“Deutsch was working with Volkswagen and contacted me, wanting to get a bunch of bands to cover ‘Black Betty,'” said Bank Robber Music’s Lyle Hysen. “If one band is going to do this song and get it right for the 21st century, it’s going to be The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.”

In “Black Beetle,” the first spot for The 21st Century Beetle, cutting-edge CGI creative goes etymological, creating a photo-real lush kingdom where the Black Beetle rules, runs, navigates and out performs all the other creatures. The ad is an homage to some of the greatest car chase scenes in the history of film and TV. With the fast- paced and explosive “Black Betty,” the Beetle ad revs to life even though it does not feature any actual images of the car, a bold move for any automotive brand. The iconic shape of the Beetle and its performance attributes are prominently showcased in the spot, further building anticipation of the reveal.

The ad will also have an extension that will live beyond the game. Immediately following the Super Bowl, Volkswagen will execute a digital and social media campaign, including an ESPN mobile takeover, blog, and Facebook activations, as well as a YouTube homepage takeover for the recently launched walk-around webisodes “Inside the VW Academy.”

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion recently released an anthology of the band called Dirty Shirt Rock ‘N’ Roll, The First Ten Years as well as four double discs comprising all the band’s material from 1993 – 1998 on Majordomo via Shout Factory Records.

2 thoughts on “New Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Super Bowl Ad: Black Betty”

  1. I hate that version of the song. They couldn’t get Ram Jam or even Spiderbait’s take on it?

    As for art+commerce, I’ve given up on feeling like I have personal relationships with bands. It was a false idea, and I’m happy when good bands get some cash.

  2. While cool for JSBX, this was a terrible car ad. No shot of the actual car in question = waste of money. VW’s new advertising is all about ad agency vanity. It may be cool to watch, but it sucks balls for moving the metal. That goes for the Star Wars ad too.

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