Look, a lot of the time people just don’t really care what a song is saying. If the chorus is catchy and riffs are hot, it’s go time. Just ask Ronald Reagan and half of ‘MURICA about “Born in the USA,” or anyone who ever played “Every Breath You Take” at their wedding. Does it matter that one is an indictment of broken patriotic promises and the other is basically a stalker anthem? Nope.
In this new spot for Walmart by Saatchi & Saatchi New York, we have “Working Man” by Rush backing images of good ol’ American manufacturing workers. On the surface, the sentiment is bang on–the company is pledging more than $250 billion to products purchased from American factories over the next decade–but comments on YouTube and Twitter quickly pointed out the fact that Rush is a Canadian band and, furthermore, the song actually paints a pretty depressing picture of the working life.
But still, the tune is largely credited with introducing the band to an American listeners and landing them a U.S. record deal, particularly on the back of its popularity in working-class cities like Cleveland, where is was first played.
Will consumers really see this as controversial? Between the chorus and that epic guitar solo, probably not. An earlier spot in the campaign, featuring Dirty Jobs guy Mike Rowe drew a much harsher buzz. Audiences lashed out at friend-of-the-worker Rowe for speaking for a company that has drawn criticism for its unfair treatment of those very same workers.