Bob Marley’s music remains timeless four decades later.
An artiste’s commercial success can be gauged by a number of factors, inclusive of music sales, streams as well as live performances. However, one market has long illuded the scope of many of the biggest names in Jamaica’s music industry, and that is being an ambassador/voice/face of a brand. While getting selected locally for such a role can be tough, it is an even harder gig for an artiste to be selected for a non-Jamaican brand. Robert Nesta Marley, Bob Marley’s government name, continues his dominance of the Reggae Billboard Albums charts even from the grave, and his legacy is now leading the charge in this area as well, with two mainstream television commercials running in the US. He now sits on another cushy title of being the only Jamaican reggae artiste to achieve such a fete.
The automobile manufacturing giant Toyota selected Marley’s 1977 hit single “Three Little Birds” for their ‘Outsmart’ TV ad. The message is a positive one, as the commercial motivate individuals to choose a vehicle with assisted driving alert systems to limit the cause of an accident. One scenario outlined in the ad sees the pre-collision system braking feature assisting a Tundra driver who was not aware that an RV had suddenly stopped in front of him. All this takes place while Bob Marley sings the famous lines from his song, “Don’t worry about a thing.”
The Jamaican operated Sandals Resorts also used the “Three Little Birds” for their ‘Don’t Worry About a Thing’ TV ad. The campaign urges its viewers to stop by a Sandals resort in order to “escape to paradise to bring your love back to life and to start feeling free again”.
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has long used reggae music and the images of a free-flowing, easy-going atmosphere to invite visitors to the island. Marley’s image and music continue to be used to promote brand Jamaica in prime international territories where the island attracts most of its human cash flow. At the start of this year, the JTB launched its ‘Jamaica – Heartbeat of the World’ television advertisement campaign at the 2020 Super Bowl using another one of Bob Marley’s hit tracks, “Could You Be Loved.”
Bob Marley leads other Jamaican entertainers such as Jimmy Cliff, whose song was featured in a Volkswagen campaign, Shabba and JC Lodges 1988 combination for Coca Cola, and Koffee was tapped for a new Life Water (LIFEWTR). Other names who have been featured in ad campaigns geared towards an international market include Shaggy, Koffee, Busy Signal, Skip Marley, Hopeton Lewis, Dawn Penn, and Inner Circle.