‘The song is stuck in my head’
April 27, 2006

Beep Beep: Love it or hate it, you can’t escape the addictive car commercial that’s lit a fire underneath an Atlanta band

Be careful when you turn on your TV these days. There’s a car ad that’s sitting on the horn.

If you’ve seen it — and heard it — you definitely know which one it is. It’s the Ford Mustang commercial that features a hip little ditty called “Beep Beep.”

One of those songs that’s impossible to get out of your head, “Beep Beep” is done by an Atlanta-based band called 13 Stories, which also has a performance role in the sleek commercial that has been running during prominent network times throughout the Southeast.

The high-octane dance pop quartet — with Cheri D on vocals, guitarist Cat, bassist J3 and drummer Max — has been compared to the B-52s, Blondie and No Doubt — no doubt because they have female members. The band, which will appear at The Gathering Spot in Greenville Saturday night, has a new CD called “FunkyPopSexyHouseRap.”

Response to the ubiquitous ad, especially in the Carolinas, has been strong. “The commercial has become a water-cooler conversation piece. It’s unbelievable,” said Randy Sadd, the band manager who originally got the ball rolling by sending a copy of the song to Ford’s ad agency, JWT. Not only did the agency love the tune, but it developed an ad around the song that featured the band’s dynamic stage presence.

“There’s my mug, as big as it could be,” said singer Cheri D, who adds that reaction to the ad has pushed awareness of the band from zero to 60. “I’m getting phone calls like crazy,” she said. And the response from people on the street has a common theme. “They all tell me, ‘The song is stuck in my head.’ I get a lot of that,” said Cheri D.

Of course, it’s supposed to be memorably addictive. That’s the point, according to Kevin Fisher, who not only owns a Columbia ad agency but also is a big music fan. He immediately liked the ad. “It’s all black and blue. It caught my attention the first time I saw it, and I’ve paid attention to it every time I’ve seen it since.

I like the visual feel of the ad,” he said. It’s memorable for the look and the music. Fisher believes Ford hit the mark with this ad because it stands out. And it reaches younger viewers who might be in the market for a car like the Mustang.

“I like it as a car ad because it’s different. It’s a good, infectious little tune, but I like the approach. It’s what I call breakthrough value. It breaks through the advertising clutter.”

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