Mr. Roboto - VW commercial

Paradise Theater

Moderator: Andrew

Mr. Roboto - VW commercial

Postby SuiteMadameBlue » Mon Jan 31, 2005 12:05 am

I thought to make a separate post regarding the ad.

Here is an article that explains making of the VW commercial. I highlighted the part of Dennis & Jimmy recording it:

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/ ... i_54772760

Volkswagen says "Thank you very much, Oh Mr. Roboto." - Volkswagen of America's new TV advertisement for Volkswagen Golf
Shoot, May 14, 1999 by Sandra Garcia
Save a personal copy of this article and quickly find it again with Furl.net. Get started now. (It's free.)Epoch Director Phil Morrison Creates The Perfect Mood For Arnold's "Crazy Guy."

We've all seen it. That guy sitting in his car rocking out to some tune on the radio making a total ass of himself. It's the beauty of driving - it makes one feel strangely invisible.

Boston-based Arnold Communications captured that scenario beautifully in the :30 "Crazy Guy" that started airing in late April for the new Volkswagen Golf. The spot opens to a rural parking lot on a perfectly quiet summer evening. A man in his mid-20s sits alone in a Golf and we see he is making all sorts of curt hand gestures while exercising various facial contortions. Is it tai chi? Is he voguing? Is he a pervert or mentally challenged in some way? The questions are resolved when a friend opens the passenger side door and Styx's "Mr. Roboto" comes blaring out of the car and we recognize that the guy has been making mock robotic movements and singing along to the song. The car pulls away and the two men continue to sing the lyrics in sync.

The commercial is part of a series of what Arnold Communications creative director Lance Jensen called "brand value spots" that showcase different features of the new Volkswagen. In this case, creative directors Jensen and Alan Pafenbach were illustrating the power of an eight-speaker stereo system. In another spot, "Spare Tire," a car mechanic opens the trunk of a Volkswagen and stares dumbfounded at what he finds - a full-size spare tire.

In "Crazy Guy," assorted subtle elements went into making this seemingly simple spot funny. "We agreed that it couldn't merely depend upon the gag, so even if you immediately knew what the guy in the car was doing, we hoped that it was still fun to watch," explained bicoastal Epoch Films' Phil Morrison who directed the spot.

According to Morrison, casting for "Crazy Guy" was crucial because they were not only testing peoples' ability to act totally weird, but also to appear completely unconscious of what they were doing. The agency hired Bernard Telsey Casting, New York, and Monkey Bros. Casting, L.A., to search for the right person - and the right music.

In addition to "Mr. Roboto," the creatives had picked out a selection of goofy '80s hits like Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance," Murray Head's "One Night In Bangkok" and Falco's epic "Rock Me Amadeus" to see what would fit best with the concept. "We didn't want to use something from Pearl Jam because it just wouldn't have been funny. We wanted something really silly that someone couldn't play air guitar to," said Jensen. The actors auditioning were asked to pick out a song and then do whatever strange gestures they wanted, but on the audition tape the sound was completely left off until the last few seconds of viewing to generate a similar effect as in the commercial.

They finally decided on "Mr. Roboto" because, according to Jensen, "we just liked it." To the agency's delight, Styx band members Dennis De Young and James Young were keen on the idea too and re-recorded the song in their private studio for the purposes of the commercial. "Man, those guys have still got the pipes," said Morrison, surprised by Young and De Young's ever-lasting vocal abilities.

While shooting the commercial, much consideration was given to the setting and time. Morrison wanted a location that looked like a generic American landscape without being kitschy, so they settled on an empty mall parking lot in Culver City, Calif., that could literally be anywhere, USA. A conscious decision was also made by Morrison to shoot the spot at night because, in his words, "Nighttime just had the right sort of late summer, hanging out kind of feeling."

To further enhance the mood, Jensen wanted to go as far as to get a shot of moths flying around the lamps illuminating the parking lot, but unfortunately moths were out of season, so to speak. "We talked to every moth expert we could find but they [the moths] were all still in their pupa stage," said Morrison, equally disappointed he could not get the shot. "Steve [Kimmel], my art director, was heartbroken," added Morrison. To compensate, there was some fantastic sound design infused by Jigsaw Editorial, Santa Monica editor Jon Hopp, including crickets and the distant hum of traffic.

TOP SPOT OF THE WEEK

CLIENT

Volkswagen of America/Volkswagen Golf.

PRODUCTION CO.

Epoch Films, bicoastal. Phil Morrison, director; Peter Donahue, DP; Jerry Solomon and Mindy Goldberg, executive producers; Doug Halbert, producer; Steve Kimmel, production designer. Shot on location in Culver City, Calif.

AGENCY

Arnold Communications, Boston. Ron Lawner, chief creative officer; Lance Jensen and Alan Pafenbach, creative directors; Tim Vaccarino, art director; Shane Hutton, copywriter; Paul Shannon, producer.

EDITORIAL

Jigsaw Editorial, Santa Monica. Jon Hopp, editor.

POST

Moving Images, New York. Tim Masick, colorist; Nice Shoes, New York. Eric Gelgand, online editor.

AUDIO POST

Sound Lounge, New York. Peter Holcomb, engineer/mixer. Soundtrack Boston, Rick Sweetser, engineer.

SOUND DESIGN

Jigsaw Editorial. Jon Hopp, sound designer.

COPYRIGHT 1999 BPI Communications, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group
Suite Madame Blue
User avatar
SuiteMadameBlue
Compact Disc
 
Posts: 6250
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 2:17 pm
Location: Paradise............

Postby SuiteMadameBlue » Mon Jan 31, 2005 12:16 am

Here's a few more:

This is from one of the VW sites:
Ad: "Crazy Guy" Click here to download WAV format.
The New Golf Click here to download MP3 format.
Song: Mr. Roboto
Band: Dennis DeYoung and James Young of Styx

From Sadie:

http://www.racerrecords.com/Styx/goldmine.html

In another TV appearance, a re-recorded bridge of "Mr. Roboto" was used to demonstrate the sound system for a Volkswagen Golf. "We re_recorded the track for the Volkswagen commercial," said JY. "We have to okay these things, so they can't do it without the writers' permission. The record company owned the original master, and they ultimately wanted more money than the people were willing to pay, but Dennis decided, being the writer of Roboto, asked me about what I thought about re_recording it, and I said why not, let's give it a shot. So we did. And the sale of our Greatest Hits albums doubled the week after that thing first hit."
Suite Madame Blue
User avatar
SuiteMadameBlue
Compact Disc
 
Posts: 6250
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 2:17 pm
Location: Paradise............

Postby Ash » Mon Jan 31, 2005 12:43 am

User avatar
Ash
Cassette Tape
 
Posts: 1795
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 3:13 pm
Location: Housewares

Postby froy » Mon Jan 31, 2005 12:53 am

Ash wrote:http://elusivemind.net/video/Golf-mister-roboto.mov

Nice find

Ok JY we will all pitch in and give you your share
I heard you voice for about 3 seconds
I figure 300 should cover it.
This commercial broke up Classic Styx that stynx
froy
Compact Disc
 
Posts: 7376
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2003 1:48 am

Postby sadie65 » Mon Jan 31, 2005 12:56 am

SuiteMadameBlue wrote:Here's a few more:

This is from one of the VW sites:
Ad: "Crazy Guy" Click here to download WAV format.
The New Golf Click here to download MP3 format.
Song: Mr. Roboto
Band: Dennis DeYoung and James Young of Styx

From Sadie:

http://www.racerrecords.com/Styx/goldmine.html

In another TV appearance, a re-recorded bridge of "Mr. Roboto" was used to demonstrate the sound system for a Volkswagen Golf. "We re_recorded the track for the Volkswagen commercial," said JY. "We have to okay these things, so they can't do it without the writers' permission. The record company owned the original master, and they ultimately wanted more money than the people were willing to pay, but Dennis decided, being the writer of Roboto, asked me about what I thought about re_recording it, and I said why not, let's give it a shot. So we did. And the sale of our Greatest Hits albums doubled the week after that thing first hit."


Right, so we still don't know who got paid what, and why it was only Dennis and JY. Once again, we're doing nothing but speculating. That's all I was trying to say.

Peace,

Sadie
sadie65
Stereo LP
 
Posts: 3037
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 4:08 am

Postby SuiteMadameBlue » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:10 am

Sadie, you are SO right!!

But, speculating is what keeps this board going strong - LOL :wink:
Suite Madame Blue
User avatar
SuiteMadameBlue
Compact Disc
 
Posts: 6250
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 2:17 pm
Location: Paradise............

Postby Ash » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:18 am

BTW - elusivemind.net is my personal web site (or will be). I found the movie on another source and uploaded. (let the lawsuits begin :) ).

Because DDY is the writer of the song, only he is entitled to royalties from VW. It would then be up to DDY to pay JY a session fee based on his contribution to the recording of the song (his guitar playing or background singing). So if DDY got paid $500,000 and he paid JY $5000 jyst for showing up to help him record it - it's no different than any other musician for hire arrangement. I'm **SURE** that JY got paid for his part in the commercial. If he didn't that would be scumy on Dennis' part and I'd have a hard time believing it frankly. He may be upset because Dennis didn't "split" it with him... of course, JY's not entitled to half because he didn't write half the song.

At the end of the day, it's Dennis' song. And I think that irks some in the band more than others... because I'm **SURE** DDY still continues to make quite a bit of residual income off that song alone.

Irony is.... the re-recorded version sound better than the original. I'd love to hear the whole thing (if they recorded the whole song that is - which I'm sure is on a tape in DDY's studio somewhere).
User avatar
Ash
Cassette Tape
 
Posts: 1795
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 3:13 pm
Location: Housewares

Postby froy » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:42 am

Right, so we still don't know who got paid what, and why it was only Dennis and JY. Once again, we're doing nothing but speculating. That's all I was trying to say.

Peace,

Sadie
[/quote]

Dennis got 500 grand JY got nothing except double sales of the greatest hits which made him some nice cash.
It was Dennis's voice we heard , it was his song he wrote it
He has the right to make money off of it
When you heard THE WHO in commercials do you know who gets the money Townsend he wrote the tunes nobody else gets the money
Same with Sienfeld he's rich all the others are not
Only recently did they make a deal with the DVDS ,
froy
Compact Disc
 
Posts: 7376
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2003 1:48 am

Postby bugsymalone » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:46 am

At the end of the day, it's Dennis' song. And I think that irks some in the band more than others... because I'm **SURE** DDY still continues to make quite a bit of residual income off that song alone.


And not only is that the case with this song, but in MOST of the cases where Styx music is used as background, soundtrack, whatever, they have been DDY-composed songs. I can't imagine that would not grate a bit on his former bandmates.


Irony is.... the re-recorded version sound better than the original


From something else I read, I believe they recorded what fit into the time frame of the commercial only. So they did not record the whole song. It does sound good, I agree.

I remember the first time I saw that ad and how blown away I was by hearing Roboto being the song blasting out of the Golf when the door was opened.

Thanks for posting the commercial, Ash, and Suite and Sadie, thanks for those great archival articles/interviews. This board rocks when it comes to finding stuff like that.

Bugsy
User avatar
bugsymalone
Stereo LP
 
Posts: 3803
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2004 2:37 am
Location: Texas

Postby styxfanNH » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:49 am

And Froy continues to spout the paymant amount for the commercial but has yet to provide any substantive source of his information.

Please point us to an article, an interview, something that proves to at least 50% validity that Dennis chose to ask JY to re-record the song then paid him nothing or shared nothing of the money received for his services.

If it is true as you say, shame on Dennis. But personally, I don't think Dennis is like that.

And why did Dennis choose to remove Tommy and Chuck from the re-recording of the song?
styxfanNH
Stereo LP
 
Posts: 3022
Joined: Sat May 01, 2004 5:39 am
Location: NH

Postby Ash » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:54 am

Well lets think about it a second.

Mr. Roboto isn't heavy on the guitars.... so two guitarists may not have even been used on the ORIGINAL recording for all we know. There is no solo for the guitar and most of the song is keyboard and bass driven. That said, the bass parts could have been done on keyboards pretty easily as could have the drums. However, the drums sound pretty good, so I wonder who might have done the drum work on that.

In short - why involve getting five guys together (Tommy not living in Chicago from what I understand and John was likely sick by this time) when it could be done well by two guys.

Likely just a matter of logistics and not really trying to overkill the process by involving every personality.
User avatar
Ash
Cassette Tape
 
Posts: 1795
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 3:13 pm
Location: Housewares

Postby froy » Mon Jan 31, 2005 2:24 am

styxfanNH wrote:And Froy continues to spout the paymant amount for the commercial but has yet to provide any substantive source of his information.



And you will never get my source as its inside info
If you dont believe it fine
Think about it for a second the commercial was used many times on thousands of stations over the US are you saying 500 grand is to high to low ? I think its sounds just right




Please point us to an article, an interview, something that proves to at least 50% validity that Dennis chose to ask JY to re-record the song then paid him nothing or shared nothing of the money received for his services.


There was an article with JY that was posted where he said that if your in a band for years you should split all the money down the middle
He's the lowest songwriter in the band in fact Shaws rights Dennis owns so he's got nothing to sell either, It 's common sense to see that Dennis made the money on the VW commercial even JY wont answer questions about it so there is something going on with it .



If it is true as you say, shame on Dennis. But personally, I don't think Dennis is like that.


Shame on Dennis for what asking JY to help him out as a friend only to be asked to be paid for it. Dawn Marie would have sounded better and would have done it for nothing



And why did Dennis choose to remove Tommy and Chuck from the re-recording of the song?


Its all keyboards and probably sampled
froy
Compact Disc
 
Posts: 7376
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2003 1:48 am

Postby thebook » Mon Jan 31, 2005 3:58 am

Irony is.... the re-recorded version sound better than the original


Thanks for posting the commercial, Ash, and Suite and Sadie, thanks for those great archival articles/interviews. This board rocks when it comes to finding stuff like that.

Bugsy[/quote]
you got that right. good finds.
thebook
Ol' 78
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2003 3:02 am
Location: Sterling Heights MI

Postby DarrenUK » Mon Jan 31, 2005 4:53 am

THE PROBLEMS PLAIN TO SEE
WAS TOO MUCH OF A ROYALTY
MACHINES TO SAVE OUR LIVES
MACHINES VOLKSWAGON KIND

THE TIME HAS COME AT LAST
TO THROW AWAY THE MASK
SO EVERYONE CAN SEE
JY DIDNT GET A FEE


IME KILROY
KILROY
KILROY
User avatar
DarrenUK
Cassette Tape
 
Posts: 1089
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2002 1:22 am
Location: Palm Bay, Florida

Postby Ash » Mon Jan 31, 2005 5:18 am

DarrenUK wrote:THE PROBLEMS PLAIN TO SEE
WAS TOO MUCH OF A ROYALTY
MACHINES TO SAVE OUR LIVES
MACHINES VOLKSWAGON KIND

THE TIME HAS COME AT LAST
TO THROW AWAY THE MASK
SO EVERYONE CAN SEE
JY DIDNT GET A FEE


IME KILROY
KILROY
KILROY


and it sucks when it comes to this.
User avatar
Ash
Cassette Tape
 
Posts: 1795
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 3:13 pm
Location: Housewares

Postby Ash » Mon Jan 31, 2005 5:26 am

froy wrote:Dennis got 500 grand JY got nothing except double sales of the greatest hits which made him some nice cash.
It was Dennis's voice we heard , it was his song he wrote it
He has the right to make money off of it
When you heard THE WHO in commercials do you know who gets the money Townsend he wrote the tunes nobody else gets the money
Same with Sienfeld he's rich all the others are not
Only recently did they make a deal with the DVDS ,[/color]


Well lets not get carried away. The remaining cast of Seinfeld made a LOT of money while the show was in production. What you are talking about are residuals - which the cast members will make some money off of due to syndication. I'm sure something was worked out for the DVD's. As for the Who, you're right froy - but they also didn't re-record any of the songs.

What I'm saying (and what I hope you're hearing) is that JY was likely paid as any contract musician was for helping dennis re-record the song. yes, Dennis gets the royalties - but the way it normally works is both men are paid a fee (the amount depends - sometimes it's a standard rate) to produce the track. Dennis didn't re-record the song and save VW a bunch of money for nothing! They did it because it was cheaper to pay DDY and JY to re-record the song than to license the original master from A&M Records (which I think is now part of universal).

I speak with GREAT authority on this. I licensed several songs for a greatest hits package from Universal Records back when I was head of an indie record label I owned. Because I wanted their master tapes, I had to pay not only an advance of several thousands of dollars per song (and it's more for commercials) you also have to pay .075 cents per song per album sold. So because I used 4 songs by universal, I paid them about $40,000 in advance royalties and about $.30 per album I sold. (I lost my shirt on this album by the way for many reasons). In the case of commercials you don't pay for every copy, but you DO pay for everytime the commercial is broadcast. Say NBC has 300 tv stations... and lets use our .075 per play analogy. If NBC plays that commercial during Seinfeld (nice tie in I might add), then the royalty generated from that one :30 play would be 300 x .075... which isn't much - but imagine if NBC has several thousand stations... and you also have CBS, ABC, etc.... and lets say the commercial plays 8 times in one day. This starts to become a MAJOR amount of money. It's why if you are a writer (like Glenn Burtnik) who gets a song on a platinum selling album..... do the math

1,000,000 albums sold x 1 song x .075 = $75,000.... for writing one song. Thats not a bad living if you can make it happen. If you're DDY and typically have 6-7 songs on an album like Paradise Theatre... and you sell 5 million copies of it (and this, by the way, DOES NOT INCLUDE ROYALTIES FROM RADIO AIRPLAY WHICH IS ANOTHER SOURCE OF ROYALTY ALTOGETHER)...

5,000,000 x 7 songs x .075 = 2.6 million dollars

When you add in getting paid for touring, merchandise, radio airplay... the guys who drove styx made a lot of money. DDY likely made the lion share of it because a) he usually had more songs on Styx records than the other guys and b) his songs were also normally the featured hit songs.

Getting back to the commercial.. They likely paid DDY and JY five or ten grand to re-record the song and in the process saved several hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties. Why do you think you hear cover versions of popular songs in commercials and never the originals? Because it's too dang expensive to get the original and cheap to find someone to synthesize a copy. In the case of VW, they got the original guys to make the copy.
User avatar
Ash
Cassette Tape
 
Posts: 1795
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 3:13 pm
Location: Housewares

Postby Adam » Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:12 am

I think Ash is on to something and I wouldn't argue with him about the PUBLISHING ROYALTIES to the DeYoung tune.

However, in the presence of the over-zealous scorchers who claim that some grave injustice has been done to DeYoung by his fellow ex-band mates, I see a double standard. They'll tell you it's unfair for Shaw and Young to make Styx records without DeYoung, but it's okay for DeYoung to cut THEM out of big advertising money. The VW ad was based on a giant hit by THE BAND. As partners, they shared the costs of recording the original record. They even shared the costs of DeYoung's whims ('We'll start the Kilroy tour with a MILLION DOLLAR MOVIE starring...ME!!!') ("Let's only play small theatres instead of maximizing our tour profits!!'). And then the record was a big hit. His taking all the advertising money was legal, but what kind of team player would cut out his longtime partners?

And I suggest a conflict of interest by DeYoung. The Producer of the records chooses which songs will be recorded, given the most attention during the recording process, and has a major say in picking the single. In DDY's case, he WROTE and SANG the singles he PRODUCED by Styx (at least the ones he's credited to having Produced).

In short, he positioned himself in a position of control. So, it's not a stretch to imagine his "partners" not only feeling neglected by thew VW campaign windfall, but by their ultimate aligning AGAINST him.

Don't forget Chuck's role in this band. His position speaks VOLUMES if you ask me.
Adam
LP
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2003 8:18 am
Location: LA

Postby SuiteMadameBlue » Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:00 am

Okay, here's a little scoop: Dennis DID NOT get paid $500,000 or close to it for re-recording Mr. Roboto for the VW commerical. Froy, I hate to say this, but you were misinformed from your source. All parties involved, including JY were paid an amount of money for the re-recording which was fair to each of them.

The finances are their business (all the parties involved).

The bottom line, Dennis and JY re-recorded "Mr. Roboto" for the VW commerical. They AND OTHERS that were involved were paid an undisclosed amount of money.
Suite Madame Blue
User avatar
SuiteMadameBlue
Compact Disc
 
Posts: 6250
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 2:17 pm
Location: Paradise............

Postby Adam » Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:28 am

I protest! Froy is always right!
Adam
LP
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2003 8:18 am
Location: LA

Postby Liz22562 » Tue Feb 01, 2005 5:22 am

Suite,

Thanks so much for posting that information. That was one of those threads that keeps coming up and its great to 'hopefully' see it layed to rest.

Here's to Styx before, during and after.....
Liz22562
8 Track
 
Posts: 759
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 3:29 am
Location: Florida

Postby froy » Tue Feb 01, 2005 6:15 am

SuiteMadameBlue wrote:Okay, here's a little scoop: Dennis DID NOT get paid $500,000 or close to it for re-recording Mr. Roboto for the VW commerical. Froy, I hate to say this, but you were misinformed from your source. All parties involved, including JY were paid an amount of money for the re-recording which was fair to each of them.

The finances are their business (all the parties involved).

The bottom line, Dennis and JY re-recorded "Mr. Roboto" for the VW commerical. They AND OTHERS that were involved were paid an undisclosed amount of money.


Suite with all do respect your source is not going to tell you the truth
Why would she?
I will explain it to you when we meet.
Rerecording is not the issue
He owns the rights to that song are you saying he gave it to VW for nothing? Think about it how much do you think he got paid ?
froy
Compact Disc
 
Posts: 7376
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2003 1:48 am

Postby SuiteMadameBlue » Tue Feb 01, 2005 6:41 am

Froy, we really need to move off of the subject of how much the members of Styx or any band gets paid. It's their personal business.

Dennis did get paid a sum of money for "Mr. Roboto" in the VW commerical. As well as other members of the band. I'm telling you, the amount was not a total of $500,000 or even close to that amount. Please let it go on this board.

We can talk about it when we meet.
Suite Madame Blue
User avatar
SuiteMadameBlue
Compact Disc
 
Posts: 6250
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 2:17 pm
Location: Paradise............

Re: Mr. Roboto - VW commercial

Postby StyxGuy » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:17 am

Wait.... Dennis AND JY re-recorded the song? Uhm... the song that ruined the band.... the song (and album) that JY has lamented about for 20 years?!

Cripes, I never knew this!
StyxGuy
Ol' 78
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:13 pm

Re: Mr. Roboto - VW commercial

Postby FormerDJMike » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:19 am

By the way the actor in the commercial is Tony Hale. He did a tribute to it on Arrested Development. I can't remember what season it is but Buster has the hook hand and is singing along to it in a car when his hook hillariously gets stuck on the dashboard.
User avatar
FormerDJMike
8 Track
 
Posts: 672
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:35 am
Location: Somewhere In America


Return to Styx

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest