Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Me

So I’m sitting here watching “The Today Show” when a commercial for Purell Hand Soap comes on, with MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” in the background.
Then it occurred to me that I just saw him a month ago dancing in a Nationwide Insurance commercial to “U Can’t Touch This” implying “Hey, you too can go broke if you spend all your record royalties on parachute pants. So get Nationwide.”
Clearly, using famous songs in commercials is pervasive, but many songs are being reused quickly for different brands. I’m wondering if the agencies involved care about that–and do the brands care? Does it dilute the message of the commercial or does it help to make a popular song the focal point of the spot?



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.