From Rolls-Royce To Grey Poupon, A Look At Brand Mentions In Chart-Topping Songs Musicians love to sing about cars — but they've also referenced mustard, bandages and chocolate. Bloomberg reporter Kim Bhasin talks about analyzing the lyrics of popular songs for brand mentions.
NPR logo

From Rolls-Royce To Grey Poupon, A Look At Brand Mentions In Chart-Topping Songs

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/545314024/545314025" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
From Rolls-Royce To Grey Poupon, A Look At Brand Mentions In Chart-Topping Songs

From Rolls-Royce To Grey Poupon, A Look At Brand Mentions In Chart-Topping Songs

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/545314024/545314025" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Product placement is everywhere these days, including in our music. Pop culture reporter Kim Bhasin at Bloomberg recently took a deep dive.

KIM BHASIN: I was listening to "Bad And Boujee" by Migos, and there's a bunch of brand name drops in there.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BAD AND BOUJEE")

MIGOS: (Rapping) Bustin' for Instagram. Get your Klout up. Yeah, that way - float on the track like a Segway. Yeah, that way...

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Rolex, Gucci, Uber, Ferrari, Jacuzzi - that song has 19 brand names in all, which got Bhasin thinking. He and another reporter pored over all the top 20 songs in the past three years. They found 212 different brand names mentioned either by name or otherwise.

BHASIN: We had to look up a lot of slang words to make sure we didn't miss anything.

SHAPIRO: Like a frog, for example. That's a Porsche. Eight of the 10 most mentioned brands were fancy cars, along with alcohol and other things favored by the rich and famous. And Bhasin says that's not all.

BHASIN: There's a ton of, like, unexpected brands that get mentioned in music that you don't realize until you sift through (laughter) all of these songs.

SIEGEL: His analysis revealed nods to Kit Kat, 7-Eleven, Crock-Pot, Rolaids, A1 steak sauce, even Band-Aid.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BAD BLOOD")

TAYLOR SWIFT: (Singing) Band-Aids don't fix bullet holes. You say sorry...

SHAPIRO: That's Taylor Swift's hit song "Bad Blood." It's hard to know for sure why these product placements end up in songs.

BHASIN: Who knows how they pick these brands? A lot of the times it's just, you know, they like it. Or it works as an analogy in their lyrics, and it just makes sense to make that reference.

SIEGEL: And then there are less poetic reasons. Take the song "Forever" by Chris Brown.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOREVER")

CHRIS BROWN: (Singing) Double your pleasure. Double your fun.

BHASIN: Which was released as a regular song. But Wrigley, the chewing gum folks, later revealed that it was actually a long version of a jingle for Doublemint gum.

SHAPIRO: There is one thing that's clear from all this number crunching and listening. The most mentioned brand was Rolls Royce. Artists seem to really like that particular flashy car.

SIEGEL: And they like mustard, too.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HUMBLE.")

KENDRICK LAMAR: (Rapping) Hey, this that Grey Poupon, that Evian, that TED Talk. Hey, watch my soul speak. You let...

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.