• 04.06.14

See Kanye, Nirvana, and Aretha Invade Vintage Ads They Would Never Appear In

French artist David Redon mashes up iconic musicians with vintage-style ads and wartime propoganda, and the results are so wrong they’re oddly transfixing.

The line between ad slogan and song chorus is thinner than most self-respecting musicians would care to admit. Although bands have warmed up to brands a bit more as they rely increasingly less on record sales to survive, the advertising for these brands has long been a target of pointed barbs in lyrics and interviews. Bands reserve even stronger hostility for the mysterious cousin of advertising–wartime propaganda. That’s why it’s rather jarring to see the visage of some of the most accomplished musicians of the last 50 years shilling for various American products, including the military.


“Ads Libitum” is a new series that inserts musicians, presumably against their will, into familiar vintage-style American advertisements and archetypes. Created by French artist David Redon, the series uses the hand-painted aesthetic of mid-20th century to turn modern musicians songs into sales pitches. In some of the pieces, catchy choruses like Outkast’s “So Fresh and So Clean” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” get slapped onto imagery of the artists promoting a brand of soap and a casino, respectively. Other pieces are more specific, subbing in Andre 3000 in for Uncle Sam, and splashing the title of the Outkast song “Hey Ya” in place of the original message, “We Want You.”

Nirvana unknowingly appropriated a brand name for the title of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”–a song that is more or less an ad for irony itself–and now Redon has returned the favor, with a Teen Spirit perfume ad. Other iterations, like Snoop Dogg’s “Gin & Juice” serve as stark reminder that entertainment is lifestyle advertising too.

Have a look through the other images in the slides above.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.