Okay… this is just one of those ‘rabbit hole’ things I stumbled across. I was working on my obsession of clipping out Cars references in television and movies and I came to Circuit City.

From 2004-2006, Circuit City used “Just What I Needed” in their ad campaign to try to revive the suffering sales of their consumer electronics chain. As awesome as the song is, it couldn’t work any magic (groan) for Circuit City, and the company filed bankruptcy in 2008. Here are the deets on that advertising plan: 

Though The Cars had allowed their music to be used in many movies prior to this, I think this might be the first time that it was part of an ad campaign. I’m not positive on that, though, so if someone knows otherwise, please let me know. Of course, several other Cars songs have made there way to commercials since then. As you may or may not know, I’ve got a Youtube playlist where I’m trying to gather all those bits. Here’s a link to it, if you want to check it out. I’m continuing to add to it all the time, so be sure to subscribe to my channel to get notice of new additions (if you’re into that sort of thing). 

I do remember an interview where Ric Ocasek felt sure that he would NOT permit his songs to be used in such a way. He was speaking with the late Bob Coburn on Rockline in 1987. Here’s the clip: 

When asked about licensing “Just What I Needed” to Circuit City, Ric told Tom Lanham of Magnet Magazine, “Well, a lot of that money goes to the band, too. And maybe I’m a little bit better off than the band, financially, because I do a lot of other things in my life. But I got a little bit of, ‘Oh, could you please? We could really use it!’ I kind of fell to that, even though philosophically, I really never wanted to do that. But after Dylan did Victoria’s Secret, I thought, ‘If Dylan’s gonna do it and Lou Reed’s gonna do it, maybe I’ll just forget about what I said 30 years ago and do this.’ So I did it. Plus, Ben’s estate gets a cut.”

Well, that’s some pretty great motivation there, then. Since ALL the guys benefited from it, including Ben’s estate, I think that’s a worthwhile reason for Ric to let go of his long-held personal rule. I wouldn’t really be complaining about him changing his mind in any case; I love it when I see commercials featuring the music of my favorites. Not only does it make me happy and hyper because I dig the song, but I think it’s an important part of continuing a band’s legacy, and it is instrumental in introducing classic music to a new generation of listeners. And this current generation needs to hear The Cars!

Anyway, here is a compilation of all of the Circuit City commercials that I could find, and now I can cross this one off my list. Haha! 

[Thank you for reminding me about the Magnet Magazine article, Rebecca! ❤ ]

3 thoughts on “The Cars in Commercials

  1. I remember those commercials and was bummed when Circuit City closed. We bought a couple t.v.’s from them. Last Thursday night my hubby and I were watching the Patriots, Giants game and just before going to a commercial break, they were playing “Let’s Go” I hit my hubby on the arm and said, hey The Car’s! Like I usually do when we hear The Car’s come on the radio in the car or a store we’re in. And he rolled his eyes, like he usually does 😁 classic rock stations have been playing The Car’s more now since their induction into the rock hall, which is great! Our local classic rock station has a double shot Tuesday’s, 2 songs by the same artist in a row. They never used to play The Car’s, now they do, makes me very happy 😊

    Liked by 6 people

  2. So, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to conclude that royalty fees paid to The Cars were “one of the reasons” Circuit City went out of business! Ergo,…The Cars helped take down a major corporation! Nice. I like that conspiracy theory! Just kidding, of course. I had not seen most of those commercials. What was I doing in the early 2000’s anyway?! Not watching TV commercials, apparently.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s