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S.A.C. Challenge – Week 3 – Issued by Heather Gardner – Writing for Advertising

February 23, 2015
Heather Gardner
by:  Heather Gardner, Music Supervisor, Vapor Music
Writing a song specifically for advertising is a unique beast — a songwriter needs to find the delicate balance between being authentic, but yet appealing to a variety of demographics, musical tastes and, ultimately, products to sell. Additionally, songs written for advertising need to be more than great songs — they also need to be cleanly produced and quickly ready to be heard on air at a high production value (in most cases, there is simply not enough time to allow for re-recording a song, or making major changes before the ad’s audio mix!).
My challenge to you is to write a song based on the below advertising brief (a real brief that we did late last year) — it includes musical and lyrical references, but (as is often the case in the ad world), without seeing a rough edit of the specific commercial. I’m looking forward to hearing what you come up with!
Creative Brief:
The spot features a child so we’re looking for something child-like, light and playful, fun, capturing the moment and that captures the spirit of a child. However, we don’t want to be emotional or heart-stringy — we’re looking for something that’s purely fun. You can definitely be somewhat quirky, while appealing to a mainstream TV audience.
A few references they’ve given us in terms of tone are The White Stripes’ “We Are Gonna Be Friends”, “On The Radio” by Regina Spektor, Sheryl Crow’s cover of “Sweet Child O Mine”, “Big Yellow Taxi” or “Mushaboom” by Feist. We also like something along the lines of Karen O’s tunes for ‘Where The Wild Things Are’. We’re open to different instrumentations.
Lyrics don’t have to be perfectly on spot on thematically, but speaking to childhood (in a fun way, not in a nostalgic or longing way) is great. Female or male vocals are A-OK.
The spot is 60 seconds in length, with 30 and 15 second cutdowns, so your submissions need to be at least 60 seconds long, but be able to capture the same sentiment even if only 15 seconds was being used. Including the full length track is always best as it allows the editor the maximum flexibility in hitting the right points in an ad with specific lyrics or musical moments.
Instructions to participants:
Post a link to your song and blog in the comments section below by midnight (11:59pm EST), March 2, 2015.
Music Supervisors always need the right music yesterday.  This is your chance to show Heather you can respond to a creative brief and turnover something quickly that meets the request.  Good luck!
143 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2015 3:37 pm

    What is the product or does it matter?

    • February 26, 2015 4:46 pm

      Hi James — often we’re not able to share the product at the early stages of an ad, so I’ve purposefully omitted it on this one. The key is being able to capture the sentiment.

  2. February 26, 2015 4:49 pm

    Hi all,

    Here is the link to my Week 3 song :

    Here is the link to my week 3 Blog :

    Thank you for listening and reading!!!!


  3. February 26, 2015 4:54 pm

    Here is an exact link to week 3 Blog:



  4. February 27, 2015 10:00 am

    have a good day

  5. February 27, 2015 10:01 am

    have a good day

  6. February 27, 2015 10:19 am

    good rocking

  7. February 28, 2015 6:34 am

    Here’s a link to my entry. Please listen from 2:34 onwards.

    My blog can be found here:

  8. Scott Anthony permalink
    February 28, 2015 11:31 am

    Hello Fellow Songwriters! Here is my Week 3 Blog
    And here is my Soundcloud link to “Kick Blocks High”
    Scott Anthony

  9. February 28, 2015 1:02 pm

    The best way to write a song with child-like fun is to co-write with a child. I wrote this with my daughter and her friend.

    I hope you enjoy!


  10. February 28, 2015 3:12 pm

    Here is my Week 3 piece.
    My related blog is at

    What a wonderful opportunity to bring out the inner child in us.

  11. February 28, 2015 7:05 pm

    Here’s the link to my blog and soundcloud song file’ Lyrics are posted in both. Donald Delano

  12. March 1, 2015 12:55 am

    SAC Challenge week#3 TV jingle “Together”

  13. Kathryn Jean (Alexander) permalink
    March 1, 2015 1:36 am

    Here is my SAC Challenge #3 “Hug The World” links to my blog and rough recording…:)

  14. March 1, 2015 9:58 am

    Here is my week 3 submission

    Fred Bevan

  15. March 1, 2015 12:33 pm

    Hi Folks. I am super excited about this challenge, first time writing a jingle. Love to hear some feedback.

    Lisa Birt

  16. March 1, 2015 1:24 pm

    Well after many many re-writes, I finally finished. Here is the link to the song and blog.

    • March 2, 2015 1:03 pm

      I Forgot to put the lyrics: So here they are

      (Children Chanting)









      (No room for this verse)





  17. March 1, 2015 2:24 pm

    Here is my Week 3 blog entry and song, Still A Kid You Know. Getting some kids to sing on this is still an enticing possibility!

    Blog Entry:


  18. March 1, 2015 4:57 pm

    Hello Week 3.
    Here be my blog and song(s). You may have noticed that there are several versions. The first is with a male vocal (mine) and has a :60, a :30 and a :15 in the same link. The other is the same song with a female vocal. Not trying to complicate things. Thought that options might be good.
    First, here’s the blog:
    and the song

    Thanks for another challenging week.
    Can’t wait to find out what is next.

  19. March 1, 2015 5:58 pm

    Repost (as other one pending for quite a while): Had a blast this week – SAC Challenge Week 3: song here:

  20. March 1, 2015 8:37 pm

    Hi There:

    Thanks for the opportunity to submit this. This challenge was a lot of fun. Please find my song and blog below:

    Song Link:

    Blog Link:

  21. March 1, 2015 8:43 pm

    Hi all,

    Here is my entry for week 3!


    Thank, as always!

  22. March 1, 2015 8:52 pm

    HI Heather, here are my blog and my song for week #3

  23. March 1, 2015 9:29 pm

    Hi Heather, thanks for the challenge. It was a fun week and a good opportunity to try out a collaboration with another SAC Challenge participant. The song is called “Wear Anything”

    (superpapa67 is SAC member Gordon Gow)

  24. March 1, 2015 10:43 pm

    After my amazingly awesome co-write with Stacey Dowswell I still had an idea left in me so I did an additional song. Somehow my whole family managed to sing on this song together, don’t ask. Oh, and me and falsetto don’t really go too well together so please forgive the vocals. Check out my video blog too, thanks. – AHI

    Songs Link:…/you-tell-me-you-love-me/s-LlxxJ
    Video Link:
    Blog Page: LlxxJ!sac-blog/sac-challenge-week-3/
    Stacey’s Blog:

  25. March 1, 2015 11:15 pm

    Awesome week… out of my comfort zone and LOVING it!

    My Blog Post:

    My Soundcloud Link:

  26. March 1, 2015 11:44 pm

    Here is the link to my blog and Week 3 song. Song is also embedded in the blog as requested.

  27. March 1, 2015 11:53 pm

    Hello Heather,

    Thanks for the fun challenge 🙂




  28. March 2, 2015 12:16 am

    Hey all! here is my submission for the week! A playful kids tune, with my 8 Year old daughter on Lead vocals! It is 60 seconds long with each section comprised of 15 second intervals. Looking for ward to any feed back or comments!

    and my blog post is here:

  29. March 2, 2015 12:48 am

    Maryjane Viejo and I decided to collaborate for Week 3 of the SAC challenge. Here’s what we came up with over two short writing/recording sessions.
    Dancing in the Sun by Maryjane Viejo & Roger Beckett
    Soundcloud link:…/dancing-in-the-sun-maryjan…/s-0qvif

  30. March 2, 2015 1:06 am

    Worpress seems to like to shorten URL’s so here’s the link to the Soundcloud file again:
    Maryjane Viejo and I decided to collaborate for Week 3 of the SAC challenge. Here’s what we came up with over two short writing/recording sessions.
    Dancing in the Sun by Maryjane Viejo & Roger Beckett
    Soundcloud link:

  31. March 2, 2015 2:13 am

    …Reposting this since my first post isn’t showing up!

    Awesome week… out of my comfort zone and LOVING it!

    My Blog Post:

    My Soundcloud Link:

  32. March 2, 2015 7:49 am

    Week 3 song and blog. Thanks James Linderman for your guidance in finalizing the production.

  33. March 2, 2015 8:11 am

    My Week 3 blog post:

    …and here’s the Soundcloud link to the song:

  34. March 2, 2015 9:11 am

    No song this week, just the blog..

  35. March 2, 2015 9:25 am

    I posted blog and song yesterday, but I don’t see it here. Was there a problem?

  36. March 2, 2015 9:40 am

    Hello …and a warm thanks to several fantastic collaborators this week … Ashley Hayward for her contribution to – In a Heartbeat her vocals were silky smooth. and I enjoyed the interaction with Michael Kelly Cavan and Shera Katzshira. All wonderful artists and I look forward to their pieces and sharing/collaborating again… especially since I am NOT a performer.

    Thanks to Debra who pointed me to the correct place to post the submissions.

    All words and music by RB Martin Clarke 2015

    The lyrics are in the comments on Soundcloud


    I’m in Love with My Science Teacher

    In a Heartbeat

  37. March 2, 2015 10:13 am

    I’m reposting my song following the guidelines sent this morning.

    (superpapa67 is SAC member Gordon Gow)


  38. March 2, 2015 10:21 am

    Hi Heather!

    Here’s a link to my song for week 3. I hope you enjoy it!

    Here is my blog:

  39. March 2, 2015 10:31 am

    Another challenge that was totally out of my usual experience of music: Write a song for advertising that is “childlike, light and playful”.

    Yay for co-writers! The songwriting part of this challenge was a breeze – thanks to Todd Wandio (the most fun I’ve had on Skype in while). Todd & I bounced ideas off each other, divided up the parts we worked on and came up with the 60 second song we were looking for. The real challenge for me became the logistics and technology – recording our ideas separately over 3000 km apart and across three time zones, updating software so it was compatible, figuring out how to share such large files. But we did it!

    One big thing I’ve realized about this songwriting challenge is that the challenge doesn’t all lie in the songwriting itself. I’m learning a lot about tools I can us to facilitate writing, collaboration and recording. I am actively listening for specific musical characteristics that makes a song work (or not). This week’s learning curve successfully climbed – ready for the next challenge!

    Here is Let’s Jump In (Julie Corey & Todd Wandio):

  40. March 2, 2015 11:27 am

    Hi Heather! Really cool challenge. I have been curious about Vapor Music and what they do in terms licensing music and hiring songwritings/composers for projects. Blog link for week 3 and my tune of soundcloud!

  41. Wayne Totten permalink
    March 2, 2015 12:33 pm

    This is my original song celebrating the age of innocence for children and the young at heart adults for the week 3 challenge. My first try at one of these!

  42. March 2, 2015 12:53 pm

    Blog entry here (song is there too)

  43. March 2, 2015 1:17 pm

    And here is my submission to Week 3 of the Songwriting Challenge: Just Let’s Go cowritten with Julie Corey.

  44. March 2, 2015 1:25 pm

    Here’s a link to my blog posting for the week.

    And here’s the link to the Soundcloud upload.

  45. March 2, 2015 1:36 pm

    Best Day of My Life, my submission for the 3rd week challenge

    You can find out all about my adventure on my blog here:

  46. March 2, 2015 1:41 pm

    Week 3 blog :
    week 3 song:

  47. March 2, 2015 1:57 pm

    Best Day of My Life, my submission for the 3rd week challenge

    You can find out all about my adventure on my blog here:

  48. March 2, 2015 2:53 pm

    Here are my adventures and outcome from this week…
    Week #3 blog:

    And song:

  49. March 2, 2015 2:56 pm

    Here’s my week 3 challenge – “Bein a kid is fun” – at 59.9″ and editable to the 15/30 lengths. Great challenge, Heather and fun to write!

    • March 2, 2015 10:10 pm
      • March 2, 2015 10:15 pm

        I tried to replace the sound file in sound cloud and it’s going nuts on me – won’t delete the first, won’t link to the replacement. And this blog won’t accept this reply. Sigh. but we’ll try again.

      • March 2, 2015 10:30 pm

        Soundcloud is screwy that way, you need a Pro account to do that properly.

    • March 2, 2015 10:31 pm

      Ok so soundcloud seems to be acting as it should, Now let’s see if wordpress will accept it. I promise I will never try to replace a file or do anything slightly unusual ever again!

      • March 2, 2015 10:38 pm

        You’re right, Michael. But it did eventually allow me to delete the file.

        I can’t get the link to look nice here, but if you click on the soundcloud icon in the otherwise empty boxes above, it will link to the page where the file resides. At least, it does for me.

  50. March 2, 2015 3:27 pm

    Hi! My blog for week 3 is at and my song, Leapfrog, is here:

  51. March 2, 2015 3:30 pm

    Week 3 was so much fun! I teamed up with Robert Campbell for this song.

  52. March 2, 2015 4:03 pm

    Week 3 great fun! 4-way co-write from SAttaC …

  53. March 2, 2015 4:20 pm

    Week 3 was so much fun!I hope you’ll enjoy “The Funnest Place” by me (Shira Katz) and Martin Clarke. My artist’s name is: Shera Shakera.



  54. Trish Evans permalink
    March 2, 2015 5:01 pm

    Job well done everyone. Here’s my 2 cents.

    There is also a link to the song within my blog.

  55. March 2, 2015 6:07 pm

    Can’t seem to post anything here.

  56. March 2, 2015 6:13 pm


  57. March 2, 2015 6:17 pm

    OK! Good grief. Had an old wordless blog that I forgot about. Creating all sorts of issues. Hoping this will work!

    Here is my song submission for week #3 advertising challenge.

    Here’s the blog to tell you all about it. There’s also a link to the song in the blog.


  58. March 2, 2015 6:18 pm

    Do all posts await moderation or am I doing something wrong. Didn’t seem to have this issue last week. ?

  59. March 2, 2015 7:06 pm

    Criss Cross Applesauce is here

    My blog is here

  60. March 2, 2015 7:29 pm

    My blog for week 3 (I had 2 co-writes this week)

    1,2,3,4-Judy Marshak/Gordon Wong

    Oh I love you-Katheryn Berry/Gordon Wong

  61. March 2, 2015 7:44 pm

    Congrats for completing challenge 3 al!
    My song “Smile” can be found here:
    and blog here

  62. March 2, 2015 7:48 pm

    A repost of my links as one isn’t working on its own.

  63. March 2, 2015 8:05 pm – Billy D Rockstar – an awesome Toronto talent.

  64. March 2, 2015 8:37 pm

    Hi Guys – Mikalyn and Michael Hay here – here is the link to the blog and and the links for this weeks challenge – again an epic week – I am going to do my best to enjoy the fruits of all your labor this week -I am blown away by all of your works!!

  65. March 2, 2015 8:42 pm

    Hi Heather,

    This was fun. Hope you like it.

  66. March 2, 2015 8:46 pm

    Hello, please find attached link to my week 3 blog:
    Also, please find attached Soundcloud link to my week 3 song:

    Thank you, T.

  67. March 2, 2015 9:13 pm

    BENEATH THE TREE | rbt Challenge #3
    An interesting challenge this week. And although I originally approached this from a 60 second song, I quickly decided that it was more satisfying to have a complete song experience to pull from. It seems 3:30 is ingrained in my dna. This challenge was fun once I wrapped my brain around a concept I was happy with – which I talk about in my blog. And happily my voice is on the return this week.…/beneath-the-tree/s-RlaIF

  68. Angus brown Jr permalink
    March 2, 2015 9:45 pm

    posting my song here ,ALL DAY LONG

  69. March 2, 2015 9:46 pm

    With a couple hours to spare…Fine with Wasting Time



  70. March 2, 2015 9:58 pm

    Week 3’s SAC challenge is Creating a soundtrack for a commercial in 60 – 30 and 15 second lengths. The biggest challenge was not the song writing but would the song be generic enough to fit the direction from the music supervisor. In this instance the direction was no specific product or visuals but…
    “The spot features a child so we’re looking for something child-like, light and playful, fun, capturing the moment and that captures the spirit of a child. Not emotional or heart-stringy — something that’s purely fun, appealing to a mainstream TV audience.” So with that in mind my entry was going to be “From the Sky”

    I had worked on the production and the melody and the instrumentation with a passionate refinement.
    BUT, once I reread the child like part of the ask “Dancing Dancing” sprang to mind. So “Dancing Dancing” is my official entry. It is not as polished but there is a quality about the song that is quirky – childlike and fun.
    Here is the Link to “Dancing Dancing”:

    Enjoy and a look forward to your feed back

    • March 2, 2015 11:48 pm

      Pat, I am SO happy you chose “Dancing Dancing” as your official Week 3 entry because it rocks! I think it totally fits with the brief. It’s so infectious, and I absolutely the rhythmic work in the instrumental, particuarly the drum fills. I’m a fan!

      • March 4, 2015 3:52 pm

        Hi Edi – Thanks for your personal feedback! I really appreciate your thought’s especially the “it’s so infectious” because that is what I was going for! Whoo hoo!

  71. March 2, 2015 10:04 pm

    This week presented me with a wonderful opportunity to create with my 8 yr old daughter. Thank you SAC, for that :-)!

  72. March 2, 2015 10:13 pm

    Hey, challengers! I absolutely loved writing yet another tune with my awesome musical son, Sean Bertram. I think we may be arguing over who gets to release this one (we’re both in the studio this year…)

    Seriously, I challenge you to listen to this and then kick it out of your head…

  73. Sean Bertram permalink
    March 2, 2015 10:17 pm

    Check it out! Seriously check it out. It’s my blog for the week. and the song that goes along with it. (song is included in blog as well)



  74. March 2, 2015 10:21 pm

    I’ve had extreme difficulty posting due to a wordpress issue. Attempt #50.

    Here is my song submission for week #3 advertising challenge.

    Here’s the blog to tell you all about it. There’s also a link to the song in the blog.

  75. March 2, 2015 10:25 pm

    Chaotic week in my real estate life! Did my challenge with Roger Beckett – friend and fellow musician who lives 5 minutes away from me! In between work and appointments, we managed to create a 60 second spot (we ensured they were divisible into 15 30 and 60 seconds with buffer to insert intros or fadeouts) I previously worked in media and due to the time blocks for sale in these increments, we wanted to ensure that each verse/ chorus or verse and chorus could fit into these slots. It was quite challenging to capture all of this in those constraints while still creating an effective lyrical piece. This is truly a tough exercise. Thanks Roger for helping me with the tech process. This is an example of a simple, unproduced song. Thank you Roger!

    Soundcloud link:

  76. March 2, 2015 10:29 pm

    Here’s my Week 3 fun childlike song for a commercial! 🙂 Thanks to Heather Gardner for putting out the challenge. As always thanks to our coaches James Linderman and Debra Alexander for sharing their knowledge and experience.

  77. ceiliboy permalink
    March 2, 2015 10:29 pm

    Here is entry for Week #3..I posted this earlier on the Facebook page but I want to start doing things the proper way before this challenge is over.

  78. March 2, 2015 10:34 pm

    Hello my name is Zoubi Arros, I’m a singer/songwriter from Victoria, BC.
    Here’s is my song for the SAC Week 3 Challenge!


  79. March 2, 2015 10:46 pm

    Debra Alexander said my blog link wasn’t working awhile ago, seems to be working now, but just incase, here’s the sound cloud link! Thanks! 🙂

  80. Ashley Hayward permalink
    March 2, 2015 11:01 pm

    This is the link for my blog and song submission. If you click on the blue “be young” (title of song) it should take you to my soundcloud page : )

  81. March 2, 2015 11:11 pm

    Here is my week 3 song and Blog post link Thanks again to our coaches and Lilly for putting up with the mess I created last week posting 🙂

    • March 2, 2015 11:46 pm

      Here are the lyrics …

      by Ros Schwartz (c) 2015

      Bounce bounce bounce bounce
      Bounce bounce bounce
      I follow my ball as we bounce on our way
      Bounce bounce bounce bounce
      Bounce bounce bounce
      Where will my bouncing ball lead me today?

      I hop on the sidewalk as we bounce along
      Oh I’ll climb that fence as I sing you this song
      I leap and I jump and I dance and I play
      And when you come join me
      We’ll all shout out YAY!

      Bounce bounce bounce bounce
      Bounce bounce bounce
      I follow my ball as we bounce on our way
      Bounce bounce bounce bounce
      Bounce bounce bounce
      Where will my bouncing ball lead me today?

    • March 3, 2015 6:54 am

      @James Linderman … I do plan to get this song nicely produced eventually. If you think it could be pitched, I could do this right away instead of later … basically what you hear here, with the voice & guitar polished up, and a little bouncy piano added here & there. And a bunch of kids’ voices on the YAY!

      Thanks for our comments!

      • March 3, 2015 6:56 am

        *your comments (sorry, I don’t know how to edit my posts here!)

  82. March 2, 2015 11:42 pm

    Hi here is my submission for week 3.

  83. March 2, 2015 11:45 pm

    I feel like I’m back in university pulling all-nighters to get papers done! – See more at:

  84. Skye Weste permalink
    March 2, 2015 11:48 pm

    Very excited to post my Week 3 blog and song links here. One link for each of the three commercial “spots”: 15 sec., 30 sec, and the full 1 minute.

  85. March 2, 2015 11:53 pm

    Here is my Week #3 Submission. This was a fun challenge. Thank you!



  86. March 2, 2015 11:57 pm My Week 3 song is called “Your Happy Face”, enjoy!

  87. March 2, 2015 11:57 pm

    Hello Everyone, here is my song for Week 3 – Thanks for listening 🙂

  88. March 3, 2015 12:12 am

    Here’s my blog and link to my song on sound cloud.

    Cheers, Donny.

  89. March 3, 2015 12:12 am

    Understanding wordpress and tumblr would have gotten this up 11 minutes sooner…

  90. March 3, 2015 12:14 am

    Understanding wordpress and tumblr would have gotten this up 14 minutes sooner

  91. March 3, 2015 1:11 am

    So hopefully this will be allowed because I screwed up and had to ask to have my last post removed. Really having terrible trouble with my computer and apparently with this site as well. Hope this works. Here is my song for week 3

  92. March 3, 2015 1:22 am

    Trying to post this again.
    Here’s the blog. It has a link to the music.

    Here’s the music.

  93. March 3, 2015 3:27 am

    Not sure if this link still works .. changed to private .. here is a new one just in case

  94. March 3, 2015 11:12 am

    Hi. Just saying hi. Seeing if my link issue has worked itself out overnight.

  95. March 3, 2015 1:32 pm

    Here is my week 3 blog link


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