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Billboard and CLIO Music’s Top Commercials Powered by Shazam

For the 55th annual CLIO Awards honoring creativity in advertising, Billboard and Shazam teamed up to create three charts that honor the best uses of music in advertising over the past year.

For the 55th annual CLIO Awards honoring creativity in advertising, Billboard and Shazam teamed up to create three charts that honor the best uses of music in advertising over the past year. 

Using tagging data from Shazam, as well as sales, airplay and streaming tracked by Nielsen Entertainment and factoring in creativity in musical integration, the three charts- Breakthrough, Collaborative Debut and Classic- rank the ads that either pushed an existing song to new prominence, helped debut a new song to the masses or brought new life to a classic hit. 


At the October 1 ceremony hosted by Whoopi Goldberg in New York City, Interscope artist Aloe Blacc performed the Breakthrough category top track, “The Man,” a song featured in a series of commercials for Beats by Dre, which helped launch it into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

Breakthrough: A commercial synch that helped an existing song reach new heights in popularity.

1) Aloe Blacc “The Man” (Beats by Dre)

Professional athletes tune out the noise of angry fans, television commentators and persistent reporters with the sound of Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” in a series of commercials for Beats headphones titled “Hear What You Want.” The first ad featuring NBA player Kevin Garnet of the Brooklyn Nets debuted in December 2013, becoming a key factor in propelling Blacc and his track to No.8 on the Billboard Hot 100 just four months later, his highest position as a soloist (Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” to which Blacc provides uncredited vocals reached No. 4). Following spots included NFL players Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers and Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks.

The song has sold nearly 2.5 million U.S. downloads cumulatively, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In February of this year, Blacc told Billboard Jimmy Iovine personally called him to ask if he could use “The Man” in the commercials, and that the singer-songwriter was “ecstatic” with the finished product.

2) Haim “Forever” (Target, “Summer Style”)

Back in October 2012, the sister trio Haim released its debut single “Forever.” After the sunny, upbeat track appeared in a Target swimsuit commercial in March 2014, the song reached its peak on Hot Rock Songs (No. 24) the following month and made it as high at No.. 36 on the Pop Songs radio chart in June. The song has sold 125,000 U.S. downloads to date.

3) Jamie N Commons/X Ambassadors “Jungle” (Beats by Dre, “The Game Before The Game”)

“The Game Before The Game” is a five-minute spot Beats created for the World Cup in June of 2014 featuring cameos from Nicki Minaj, LeBron James and Serena Williams – and prominently highlighting the Jamie N Common and X Ambassadors collaboration “Jungle.” The epic commercial shot the track (released in April 2014) to No. 10 on Hot Rock Songs and to No. 87 on the Hot 100 within a couple of months. The song by Blues rocker Commons and alt-rock band X Ambassadors has sold 274,000 U.S. downloads to date and the video boasts nearly 25 million worldwide YouTube views.

4) Major Lazer “Original Don” (The Cosmopolitan Hotel Las Vegas, “Misfit Right In”)

After the use of Major Lazer’s “Original Don,” featuring The Party Squad, in the visually striking “Misfit Right In” ad for The Cosmopolitan Hotel Las Vegas, the almost two year old track (released November 2011) reached No. 2 on Hot Singles Sales in March 2014. The spot premiered during the British Open on ESPN in July 2013 and aired though the following winter. “Original Don” has sold 126,000 U.S. downloads to date.

5) Wild Cub “Thunder Clatter” (Bose, “Better Sound Makes Everything Better”)

After landing a sync in a global Bose speakers commercial, Nashville group Wild Cub scored its first hit with the jangly indie pop song “Thunder Clatter” (released in January 2013). The track reached No. 16 on Alternative Songs in June 2014 and has sold 135,000 U.S. downloads to date.

Collaborative Debut: A commercial synch, utilizing a not-yet released song or a track commissioned specifically for that spot, whose premiere helped propel the track to prominence.

1) Afrojack Featuring Wrabel “Ten Feet Tall” (Bud Light Aluminum, “Cool Twist”)

Through a partnership with Shazam, Afrojack’s “Ten Feet Tall,” featuring Wrabel, debuted in a Bud Light Super Bowl Commercial (February 2) with free track downloads awarded to the first 500,000 fans who Shazamed the song. The track reached No. 9 on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs in July and No. 22 on Pop Songs. “Ten Feet Tall” has sold 226,000 U.S. downloads to date.

2) Will Hoge “Strong” (Chevrolet Silverado)

After nine albums, Will Hoge reached mainstream country fans for the first time with Strong,” which appeared in an advertisement for the Chevy Silverado. The campaign debuted July 15 2013 on ESPN during the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby. His bestselling single to date, the track has sold 206,000 U.S. downloads. The track reached No. 31 on Country Digital in August 2013 and No. 41 on Country Airplay by December.

3) Austin Mahone Featuring Pitbull “Mmm Yeah” (Aquafina Flavorsplash)

Austin Mahone’s highest charting single to date, “MMM Yeah,” featuring Pitbull, appeared in a spot for Aquafina FlavorSplash that premiered during the 2014 GRAMMY Awards. The track was released the night before the telecast, and sold 70,000 copies in just over 24 hours, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Release-to-date sales currently stand at over 700,000 downloads. “MMM Yeah” debuted on the Hot 100 at No. 60 and reached a peak of No. 49 in May.

4) U2 “Invisible” (Bank Of America + (RED))

Veteran rockers U2 premiered the song “Invisible” during Super Bowl XLVII in partnership with (RED) and Bank of America. The song was available as a free download on iTunes in the 24 hours immediately following its airtime, with Bank of America donating $1 to the Global Fund for every song downloaded. When the track debuted at No. 28 on Alternative Songs, U2 reclaimed the record for most Alternative Songs appearances (39) in the chart’s 25-year archives. The track also reached No. 15 on Hot Rock Songs in February and No. 1 on Adult Alternative in March.

5) (Sonos, “Face Off”)

In this Rick Rubin produced Super Bowl spot, three different sounds “face off” to control a home. The Tropkillaz Remix of N.A.S.A. track “Hide” debuted in the Sonos spot as it battles a classical tune and an instrumental guitar track, DJ’d by Rubin. The remix has 417,000 plays on Soundcloud and reached No. 28 on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs in February.

Classic: A commercial synch of an older song that re-engaged and connected with a former audience while exposing the track to a new audience.

1) Bobby Caldwell “What You Won’t Do For Love” (Mitsubishi Outlander, “New Beauty”)

A commercial for the Mitsubishi Outlander revived this 1979 Hot 100 top 10 hit and Caldwell’s best-known track. The smooth soul song has been covered over the years by Boyz II Men and sampled by Aailyah and 2Pac, among others. The ad caused the track to appear at No. 12 on R&B Digital Songs in December and sold more than 10,000 downloads for two consecutive weeks last winter.

2) Fountains of Wayne “Stacy’s Mom” (Cadillac SRX)

In this spot for the Cadillac SRX sound tracked by Fountains of Wayne’s 2003 “Stacy’s Mom”, a classy mom drops her daughter off for school while men stare at her “beautifully practical and practically beautiful” …car. The Grammy nominated gold-certified song reached No. 21 on the Hot 100 back in 2003 and is well known for its Fast Times at Ridgement High inspired music video.

3) Stevie Nicks “I Can’t Wait” (Grand Theft Auto V)

If you tune into the fictitious radio station “Los Santos Rock Radio” while playing Grand Theft Auto V, you’ll hear the Stevie Nicks song “I Can’t Wait.” The 1986 track (produced by Jimmy Iovine and co-writer Rick Nowel) reached No. 16 on the Hot 100 in 1986 and is also featured in the promotional spot for the game.

4) Foreigner “Feels Like The First Time” (NJOY, “Met Your Match”)

The e-cigarette company NJOY features the Foreigner hit “Feels Like The First Time” (a No. 4 Hot 100 hit in 1977) in this “Met Your Match” commercial spot.

5) Lou Reed (covered by studio group) “Perfect Day” (PlayStation 4, “Perfect Day”)

Just days before Lou Reed’s death in October 2013, a Playstation 4 commercial premiered featuring a performance of Reed’s song “Perfect Day.” The following month, the original song entered Rock Streaming songs at No. 21. This isn’t the first time the song has appeared in an ad campaign. An AT&T commercial for the 2010 Winter Olympics also highlighted the track.

Rankings are based on a combination of factors including overall Shazam tags, resulting sales and streaming totals as measured by Nielsen Entertainment, as well as creativity in musical integration, covering the tracking period of July 2013 through June 2014.