The Shins: iPhone vs. Zune – Fight!


Alterna-hipster band The Shins want you to buy a Zune. No. Whoops, wait. The Shins want you to buy an iPhone. Hold on, they want you to buy both? Talk about hedging your bets. The band is featured in current commercials for both portable media players. They haven’t been this ubiquitous since that stupid Garden State movie came out. [digg=]

Here, the Shins’ “Sleeping Lesson” plays during the Zune’s “Academy of Dreams” commercial. Points to Microsoft for getting their most recent album.

shins_iphone2.jpgI can’t find a video of this Apple iPhone ad online, but it was on during tonight’s episode of Heroes (does it smell like nerd in here?). This spot doesn’t use the music, just the cover to the band’s earlier album “Chutes Too Narrow.”

Thanks to the magic of DVRs, digital cameras and my wife’s enduring patience, I was able to snap a pic: I’m not above a band using its music for ads, it’s just funny that two competing products are using the same pitchmen at the same time. Wonder which one the band uses.



Give the band a break. They get offered a good deal for advertisement and the take it. Who wouldnt. And who really cares if they use zune or iphone, they probably dont care either way. It’s more microsoft and apple endorsing the shins than the shins endorsing either of them.


Feist launched her first single from her new record in a Verizon Wireless Chocolate ad. 3 months later she was everywhere for ipod. Not identical products, but looking for the same mind share.

Look – the music supervisors for these consumer products are mostly sheep, live in LA/NYC and listen to the same 5-10 bands.

Happy to see Mates of State in the AT&T wireless ad. Hoping they can do a Fiest/Shins double play.

Michael Salsbury

Actually, this isn’t the first overlap of a band on the Zune/iPod/iPhone front. The Brazilian band “Cansei De Ser Sexy” (also known as C.S.S.) promoted the Microsoft Zune on the road and is one of the tracks that ships as a demo on the device. Meanwhile, there is an iPod Touch commercial featuring a C.S.S. song, too. It’s the one that ends in “music is where I’d like you to touch”. I can’t blame any band for trying to get as much exposure as they can, at least early on. Given the improvements Microsoft has made in the Zune in the latest iteration, it might be finally getting “good enough” to start hurting iPod sales.


Dollars to doughnuts it’s the iPhone for the band.

With regards to the album chosen for each ad: the Microsoft Zune ad is clearly aimed at teens, whose introduction to The Shins may have come with “Wincing the Night Away.” Good choice for that ad.

The iPhone ad is clearly aimed at twenty- and thirty-somethings, many of whom know and love not only “Chutes Too Narrow” but also “Oh, Inverted World.” Good choice for that ad.

I did laugh at Mercer’s ability to play the two ends against the middle with these two ads, but I saw in a recent interview he did in the UK that the band will do little touring in 2008 so he can work on the fourth album. He should be quite comfortable while taking the time to do that!


Points to Microsoft for getting their most recent album.

Sheesh, Chris, what kind of a hipster are you. Demerits! The “old album” is always better.

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