Brands & Merch Business News

Duran Duran hit out at yoghurt sync, though ad removed for other reasons

By | Published on Monday 13 January 2014

Duran Duran

Duran Duran hit out this weekend at the use of their 1982 hit ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ on a yoghurt advert, even though it seems like the company behind the Yoplait brand properly licensed the track for use in the commercial.

The band says that they were not aware of the sync before the ad started airing, insisting that, if they had been, they would not have approved the use of the track in a yoghurt promotion. They add that “moving forward we hope to avoid any further situations like this”.

It’s not clear whether those licensing the track for sync were obliged to consult the band before doing the deal (an artist’s right to veto sync deals will depend on specific contracts). Though, I suppose, even if a band doesn’t have a contractual right to be consulted about sync arrangements, generally brands would prefer it if the bands behind the music they use in their commercials don’t go around issuing statements dissing their ad spots.

As it happens, Yoplait has withdrawn the ad, though not because of licensing issues. Rather, consumers pointed out that in the US some associate ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ with the 1983 Diane Downs murder case, because the song was playing on the radio when Downs shot her three children in the back of her car, killing one of them. Which isn’t something you want to remind people about when trying to sell them yoghurt.

After people raised that point on Facebook, a spokesman for the brand defended the ad by saying: “We chose the music because it’s a popular song that felt right for this ad. The Yoplait team has discussed this quite a bit and found that the large majority of people have only positive connections to this song, given that the Diane Downs incident was more than 30 years ago”.

But as criticism of the ad rose, the company withdrew the commercial, saying in a statement: “When we chose the song, we had no idea of its connection to this terrible event. We take your feedback seriously, and yes, we have decided to remove this ad from the air while we consider other versions. Please know that it may take a couple of days until the ad is fully removed. We’re again sorry that it’s upset you and promise there was no intention to cause such disappointment”.

Duran Duran issued their statement after fans criticised the sync. They wrote: “Many of you have written to us, voicing your dismay about the recent license of our song ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’, to a yoghurt commercial. Please know, Duran Duran do not support this usage of their music and unfortunately, this particular license was granted without any prior notification to any of us. Had we known, under no circumstances would we have backed it. Thankfully, the ad has now been taken off the air and moving forward we hope to avoid any further situations like this”.