It was announced this week that there will be two new commercials featuring music by Bob Dylan that will air during the Super Bowl on Sunday. One of them, for Chobani, features his classic "I Want You" and is already online (see below); as for the other, a Chrysler commercial, Dylan will reportedly appear in the ad, only the fourth time he's ever done that (not counting archival footage). As usual, there's been some cries of "sell out" from fans and admirers. This is far from the first time this has happened.
Over the last decade, Dylan has licensed his songs to Apple, Pepsi, Google, Kohl's, numerous car companies, and of course, Victoria's Secret. Iconic civil rights songs such as "Blowin' In The Wind" and "The Times They Are A-Changin" have been used to shill for fizzy water, and it hasn't done a single thing to ruin the power of those songs—if an ad really ruined your enjoyment of one of those songs, you are probably watching too much TV. Dylan has allowed his image to be placed on the same plain as Will.I.Am, and still, no one in the history of the world has entertained the thought that Will.I.Am is even remotely in the same league as Dylan.
At the end of the day, I don't think this is anything to get upset about. Musicians have fewer options for making money these days, and commercials (which come with those sweet royalty checks) are one of the surest ways for your favorite average indie band to ensure they can craft their concept album about Canadian livestock exactly the way they envision it. And we know Dylan likes messing with people—I can't help but feel that every time he's on camera for Cadillac, it's some surreal in-joke, a piece of performance art in the same realm as "Must Be Santa" and his appearances on Pawn Stars and Dharma and Greg.
Having said that, it's not like I'm thrilled that a buoyant, romantic Blonde On Blonde gem has been associated with yogurt. It's kind of a bummer, but if another giant avalanche of money lets Dylan feel comfortable enough to craft another record as good as Tempest or Modern Times (or as great as Love And Theft and Time Out Of Mind), we're willing to go with it. After all, Dylan's got a lot of secret children to support.
So below, check out all the commercials Dylan, his likeness, or his music have appeared in. If we forgot any, let us know in the comments.
Back in 1965, Dylan told a reporter that if he ever sold out to a commercial, it would be "ladies garments." In 2004, he did just that in a truly bizarre and iconic Victoria's Secret commercial.
And here's some behind-the-scenes footage:
He also appeared in this 2006 Apple ad, featuring "Someday Baby."
In 2007, he appeared in a Cadillac Escapade commercial. Oddly, there was no Dylan song though—Smog's classic "Held" is playing.
In 2009, he licensed "Blowin In The Wind" to supermarket Cooperative Group's commercials. His label later said that "the Co-op's adherence to ethical guidelines on environ-mental impact, fair trade and social responsibility, influenced his decision."
Dylan's darkest moment came in 2009, with the Pepsi Super Bowl ad featuring the loathsome Will.I.Am and an ugly mash-up of "Forever Young" which no human being ever wanted.
In 2010, Google Instant showed off by playing around with "Subterranean Homesick Blues."
In 2012, Brother printer proved printers can be as noisy as anything with a mechanized cover of "The Times They Are A-Changin."
Kohl's was allowed to use a cover version of "Forever Young" for a recent Christmas ad.
Jeep has gotten two rare songs out of Dylan for car commercials: first they used a rare cover of Blind Willie Johnson’s "Motherless Children" for Jeep Cherokees.
Then they did another one with the song "Rocks And Gravel." We will admit, we get this one stuck in our heads a lot.
Here's the brand new Chobani ad. That's Mandy Patinkin with the voiceover at the end.
And finally, Tangled Up In Shoestring Fries aren't real, but we wish they were.