Why do they use such kid unfriendly songs in the ads for kid's movies?

My sister has asked me to ask a question of this “collection of faceless internet aquaintances that * won’t shut up about”. A few days ago she asked me about that upbeat instrumental song that was in the commercials for Zootopia. It was in the ones for Shaun the Sheep, too. The kids (2 girls 5 and 3) always dance when they hear the commercial and she wanted to get the song for them. I looked it up for her and had to explain that it’s not an instrumental at all. It’s Fireball by Pitbull.

The family won’t be listening to it in the car on the way to church. I wondered what the folks at Pixar were thinking when they used Up in the Air by 30 Seconds to Mars for one of the Planes movies.

So the question is what gives? There are all kinds of songs released every day by a multitude of artists. Why pick ones with grown up lyrics for movies aimed at kids?

I’ve noticed this with a lot of movies, not just moveis aimed at kids.

I honestly think it’s 99.9% about “catchy tune” to make you watch the trailer. I’ve seen the Zootopia trailer and I could’ve sworn they use just the riff. Ditto with “Uptown Funk” (I can’t remember which trailer that was for at the moment).

Pitbull’s lyrics may be not kid friendly but his writers have a definite knack for tunes.

I can’t say I’ve noticed the adult parts of the lyrics - I think they often edit them out so you’re left with the riff/instrumental and the suitable lyrics.

“I need to make an obscenity complaint against my neighbor. When he’s working in his garden I can’t help but hear him whistle dirty songs.”

I am not familiar with the Shaun the Sheep trailer but if they don’t include the lyrics it is not an ‘adult’ song.

Sometimes you can find ‘kidzbop’ or ‘Disney kidz’ or whatever - either sanitized or instrumental versions of popular tunes.

Thread relocated to Cafe Society from IMHO.

Are the songs used in commercials usually even in the actual movie / on the soundtrack? I think, as **kiz **says , they’re just catchy tunes to make you watch the trailer.

While we’re on the subject, when did parents start shielding their kids from songs / song lyrics? Not trying to be snarky I just mean, for instance, I often hear fairly innocuous parts of songs cut out / muted. Has music itself somehow changed, as far as lyrics being more explicit?Unless we’re talking about gangsta rap it wouldn’t seem so. I can recall hearing all manner of stuff on the radio while riding around with my parents (that is when one could understand the words). Sorry it this is a bit of a hijack.

It’s nothing new. Arguably one of the most famous songs on Sesame Street debuted in a softcore porn documentary about Sweden!

Well, here is an interesting article that appeared in an obscure rag called the Chicago Reader.

At the time Clark Weber was the program director on WLS-AM, a major Top 40 station that could make or break a band. Here is the story of how the cover of Gloria done by the Shadows of Knight became a hit:

Parents objecting to music is as old as kids listening to music. There used to be institutions that aided them (radio stations, police decency squads) and when they let something through, parents would let them know vocally.

The government has been censoring radio from the beginning, and I don’t think today’s radio is any more sanitized than it was 20, 40, or 60 years ago. If anything, I think songs today are more explicitly talking about sex and use less coded language than in the past.

The way things are censored is often silly, of course. I mean really, “I want to <blank> you like an animal / I want to feel you from the inside”? Are children somehow more protected thanks to bleeping one word?

The main difference these days is that kids can easily look up all the lyrics online and read all the raunchy stuff they have been missing. If they care at all.

Isn’t that song “Tequila”?
Couldn’t you find a copy or remix of that for your kids to dance to?

Music has always been pretty explicit. Take a look at Sinatra’s lyrics, one of these times.

And is this really any worse than, say, using Springstein’s “Born in the USA” at a patriotic rally?

The problem with that story is that the line “We roll around” does not appear anywhere in the original version of the song. He just made that up. The line that they dropped was simply “And then she come to my room,” changed to “And then she call out my name.”

Hmm; I definitely feel like things are more widely censored. And of course I can’t seem to dredge up an example, despite encountering it almost daily :smack: I do realize that there has always been censorship and it for the most part was ridiculous too, but I don’t recall ever hearing songs with words obscured or muted. I *did *hear Roger Daltry asking “who the fuck are you?” and Chrissie Hynde told me and my dad on a daily basis to fuck off due to her precious nature. OTOH, I remember the whole Tipper Gore PMRC thing. I guess I just don’t remember it being part of my life, as in neither my parents nor anyone’s parents I knew ever commented much less put any limits on what we listened to (or watched for that matter). Suppose we can chalk it up to my mileage varying :slight_smile:


Nitpick: Pixar’s only connection to the Planes movies is John Lasseter co-concocting the original story. The rest is Disney rip-off expertise, including the commercials/marketing.

I generally assume such songs are there merely for their tunes; the kids won’t get anything “improper” about them. If the parents do, they can get a laugh out of it, as a ‘parental bonus’ for paying attention.

An example of this is the use of “Shut Up and Drive” in Wreck-it Ralph.

Nothing improper about the lyrics - but the song wasn’t, originally, about literally driving cars! :smiley: Parents could get a laugh at how inappropriate it was, kids won’t notice, everyone is happy.

Disney video for “Wreck-it Ralph”:

Original video:
Slightly different emphasis. :D

There is evidence showing the incidents of swearing in the titles of pop songs has grown over the past 30 years, and this would indicate that the amount of swearing within those songs is also increasing. Therefore, if the trailers creators decide to use a recent song, the odds are increasing that they will have to edit it to a G rating.

My old fart moment for this thread is remembering when “suck” wasn’t something you said in public or polite society, and one would get admonished for saying “You suck” or “this sucks”.

Heh. Reminds me of the late 80’s when gangsta rap was still underground, me and my friends would wonder if those cuss-laden songs would ever hit pop radio. We used to joke around by imitating Casey Kasem saying: And now, coming in at #8 on our Countdown, it’s the latest single by N.W.A., “Yo Bitch Better Have My Money!”


I can’t look at this since I’m at work, but I do know that “I Am Curious, Yellow” is not about Big Bird.

Up through about the 80’s, I hardly ever heard the “seven dirty words you can’t say on television” in any of the music I heard on the radio, TV, movies, or albums I listened to. They didn’t obscure or mute the words because they didn’t have to.

And while there were certainly references to sex (and drugs and other “adult” topics), they tended to be less blatant: more ambiguous or (as per the article Emerald Hawk linked to) “encoded,” with sly allusions and metaphors that could easily fly over the heads of children.