A death metal performance that sounds like a sore throat

The advertising jingle is said to have originated with a 1926 radio spot for Wheaties, and has since become an established part of marketers’ arsenal.

Whether it’s “I’m lovin’ it” or “Nationwide is on your side,” jingles tend to be cheery and melodic, with a generally heavenly sound. But JAMP Pharma’s cough drop brand Valda has quite literally gone in the opposite direction for its latest jingle.

Working with Havas Montréal, the brand recently staged an activation in Montreal’s subway system featuring Growlers Choir, a multi-pierced, black lipstick-ed and goateed death metal choir that sounds like if all those angelic singers from Choir Choir Choir had been dragged into the bowels of hell and forced to gargle with molten lava.

The Growlers Choir recently “serenaded” the city’s transit users with a song featuring lyrics like “Your throat is an inferno/like the fires of hell” and “French kiss from the devil/like the driest desert spell,” with Havas capturing their reaction for a video currently running across the major social media channels (our favourite moment is the crying kid in the stroller. Welcome to the world, kid—it ain’t all ice cream and nursery rhymes).

There’s a “jingle” in there somewhere (“Valda soothes you”), but it definitely ain’t “I’d like to teach the world to sing.” “We have this whole idea of a jingle that is catchy and in good spirits, and we arrive [at the station] and it’s like all hell is breaking loose,” said Havas creative director Carle Coppens.

Coppens had recently seen Growlers Choir perform a version of the Britney Spears song “Toxic” on America’s Got Talent, and thought they’d be a great fit with a proposed awareness campaign for the more than 100-year-old Valda brand.

The original song is a joint collaboration between Havas Montréal, Circonflex, and the choir’s director Pierre-Luc Sénécal. “It’s pharma with a twist,” said Coppens.

The CD also specifically called out Circonflex’s Pierre-Hugues Rondeau for his work on the “pig squeal,” an established component of some corners of the metal community. “The job he did was amazing,” he said.

The death metal as commercial hook, meanwhile, has previously been explored by the Finnish cough drop brand Zyx, the U.S. Navy, and, erm, The History Channel. It’s a hell of an approach to marketing.

Chris Powell