Daft Punk: Random Brand Memories

As everyone’s favourite motorcycle helmeted dance duo resurface after an 8-year album hiatus with a funk laden single (smashing the Spotify record for most streams in 24 hours), we thought we’d take a look back at the brand partnerships the French music innovators have dabbled in over the years.

With a new album set to be launched at a virtually unheard of agricultural festival in New Zealand next month, the likelihood of the robotic duo shaping the soundtrack of Summer 2013 is somewhat assured. As ever, their heady mix of musical innovation and cutting edge technology will mark them out as sought after brand collaborators, and it will be interesting to see which brands capitalise on the momentum and subsequent success of this highly anticipated new release.

History, as you'll see below, seems to favour the tech and fashion route, with both sectors providing a natural fit with the ethos of the multi-grammy winning musicians. 

GAP (2001)

Arguably one of Daft Punk’s most infamous brand partnerships, this 2001 Gap commercial saw the electronic music duo 'doing the robot' with actress Juliette Lewis in full on double denim; all to the tune of their single ‘Digital Love’. Notably, it wasn’t their only dabbling with the world of fashion, as they joined forces with Louis Vuitton in 2007, developing the soundtrack to the brand’s Spring/Summer 2008 catwalk showJuliette Lewis, meanwhile, went on to reprise her role as Audry Griswold from National Lampoon’s Xmas Vacation in a series of Old Navy commercials, also owned by Gap, 8 years later. 

SONY ERICSSON (2004)

Back in the mobile dark ages (that’s pre iPhone) Sony Ericsson launched the Premini, then the world’s smallest i-Mode handset (which looked a little like an electric razor), with endorsement from the helmeted collaborators. The duo appeared in the Japanese only ad trading messages with a young lady via their LED headwear; which makes us think how much cooler Google Glass would look if Daft Punk were on the design team. 

PANTENE (2009)

Daft Punk’s music has appeared in a fair few ads overt the years, notably a 2005 iPod commercial. However, this Pantene ad, featuring ubiquitous UK TV show presenter and M&S bikini clotheshorse, Myleene Klass, is an often-overlooked brand partnership that’s worthy of a mention. In the ad the former Hearsay singer shows her classical training as she performs a reworked rendition of the duo’s ‘Aerodynamic’ on a grand piano while her perfectly coiffed hair swishes about in compulsory slow mo.  A smart alternative use of an ad sync, even if its origins were probably lost on the majority of viewers. 

ADIDAS (2010)

adidas’ epic Star Wars inspired commercial, released to coincide with the Fifa World Cup in 2010, saw Daft Punk jostling for elbow room in the Mos Eisley Cantina alongside Snoop Dog, David Beckham, Noel Gallagher and Ian Brown; not to mention Tatooine regulars, Han Solo, Chewbacca and fellow, albeit less musical, robot C-3PO.  Yes, they do both look a little like the long lost brothers of Charlie Sheen in The Wraith, but the ad is still an inspired cultural mash-up on so many levels.

COCA-COLA (2011)

The world’s favourite soft drink collaborated with Daft Punk on two sets of limited edition Coca-Cola bottles as part of its on-going Club Coke collection, which also featured Mika, David Guetta and Justice.  The debut bottles were created in futuristic gold and silver, echoing those iconic helmets, with the limited edition box sets available exclusively through Colette stores in Paris. Subsequent bottle designs from the artists featured a more back-to-basics feel, with gold and silver lettering and only 20 sets made. In a clever move Coke highlighted the fusion of the two brands by creating the website daftcoke.com to promote the partnership. 

SAINT LAURENT (2013)

Following in the footsteps of Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love, Daft Punk donned sequined tuxedos as the latest collaborators in the fashion line’s ongoing music project. Not only do they appear in the ‘Le Smoking’ signature jackets in a sleek black & white Saint Laurent photo-shoot, the clothing also nets a staring product placement role in the video for new single ‘Get Lucky’

The duo had previously partnered with Hedi Slimane (the new creative head at the French fashion house) back in 2012, creating a 15-minute mix for his catwalk debut.

INTEL (2013)

The technology brand managed to leverage plenty of attention for its ongoing Creators Project, as it hosted exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with some of the renowned collaborators that Daft Punk had enlisted to work on new album Random Access Memories.

Daft Punk’s lack of human faces and inability to speak puts them well outside the realms of the usual brand ambassadors, often making it tricky to build content outside of imagery and music. However, honing in on the many and varied album collaborators gives Intel a way in here, capitalising on the surge of interest to create a suitably intriguing back story with help from Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rogers and Pharrell Williams. 

Interestingly, Pharrell has also been making good use of his Daft Punk alignment, performing 'Get Lucky' (minus robotic accompaniment) during a launch for the HTC One handset in Brooklyn. 

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