Why advertisers need to do their homework

US motorcycle insurance firm uses Allman Brothers track on TV commercial

WHEN the makers of American bike insurance firm Geico’s latest TV ads chose their music they probably thought that ‘Midnight Rider’ by the Allman Brothers Band was probably an ideal backing track. But perhaps they’d have thought a little different if someone had pointed out that two of the band members – including its founder – had been killed in bike accidents.

There’s no doubting the Allman Brothers Band’s biking credentials, or the fact the 1970 song is a classic. But to use it to sell bike insurance despite the fact guitarist Duane Allman and bassist Berry Oakley both died as a result of bike crashes, in 1971 and 1972 respectively, could be seen as distasteful.

The song’s use in the ad has already stirred up controversy in America, but what do you think? Unsuitable? Or should Geico be congratulated for using music made by some real motorcyclists?