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Sing along with Target’s music teacher

Back-to-school ads can be pretty shallow, but Target hid a little kernel of truth in this new 30-second spot, which features a music teacher character singing his heart out about denim. Denim!! Watch:

(Direct link to the video on YouTube.)

What’s so great about this ad? First, it’s funny, and it gets funnier the more you watch it. The awful song is an unexpected payoff the first time, and then it grows absurd when you watch it again. Denim becomes a weird word when you repeat it over and over. The set is full of little details (the gong!) that will remind adults of music class. And the man singing it is painfully sincere—and so stuck on denim.

Beyond that, the ad presents a nugget of insight into music education. Music teachers set a standard for style and attitude—more so than teachers in core subjects, since students are primed to look at the music room as a place of fun and creativity. Kids respond to even the geekiest music teacher—even a guy with a tan blazer and a Casio.

Music and art classes are where kids learn how to express themselves, and to appreciate other people’s expressions. Sure, learning to play the recorder is a worthless life skill if there ever was one. But art and music programs teach us how to relate to people and get projects accomplished. Sadly, theses classes are usually the first things to go when schools have to make cutbacks.

This commercial tells a little story about music education in 30 seconds, with humor, while making the client happy by selling Target stuff. Love it.

Who created this ad and who signed off on it?

Sorry folks, I don’t have any names on this one. Send me a tip if you know. Target’s lead agency is Wieden + Kennedy.


In the comments, Jodi notes the denim song sound a lot like “Caribbean Queen” by Billy Ocean. (Thanks!)

Update 2:

I gotta have more denim! Target has posted this clip of outtakes on YouTube:

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising


  1. Great! Producer and Writer should be paid big for making folks smile.

  2. Mavrick says:


  3. Judi Graff says:

    Extremely funny but definitely the teacher that has some kid make an accusation against him.

  4. shiela says:

    I love this commercial, this guy rocks, He’s rocking that shit!!! Amazing!

  5. shiela says:

    Love this commercial, this guy rocks it. He’s feeling it.

  6. Cindy says:

    I Love Him and Love the commercial it makes me smile every time I see it. Good job target!

  7. Hannah says:

    Now he is the kind of teacher I would want! He is f*** funny!!!!!!!

  8. Lissa says:

    What are you talking about. This is showing Americans that teachers care more about the aesthetics of a child then they’re education. It makes teachers look like they are asking parents more for their students education. Granted we all want that cool teacher that’s going to have a quirky attitude but this commercial makes it seem like inanimate objects are more important to the success of a child

    • Aasa says:

      It is a sales pitch. Of course it is supposed to be about purchasing material things……from Target. I think it was genius to use this guy.

  9. Gee says:

    Love, love this ad. Mentioned it at lunch today, and everyone at the table started laughing and singing, “DENIM!”

  10. nimbus says:

    The tune is familiar, though. A take-off from an 80’s disco song?

  11. kay says:

    My favorite Target ad is the elementary school teacher with the hamsters or gerbils Lewis and Clark. She is so cute and energetic. It make me want to be a little kid in her class room.

  12. Kitten says:

    That commercial has the music from an 80s song, and it’s driving me crazy that I can’t think of what it is! I’m looking all over Yahoo, and can’t find anyone who’s identified it yet!! Aaarrrgghh!

  13. renee says:

    Me too! What IS the song? Its driving me crazy!

  14. Jodi says:

    I read somewhere else the music is Caribbean Queen by Billy Ocean.

  15. mark says:

    I don’t think it’s Caribbean Queen. It Sounds close but I think I remember an 80’s song with the exact beat synthesizer and all.

  16. Zeus says:

    It not CQ I cant sleep been looking for hours I keep listen 2 CQ an it dose sound like it at all!!!!

  17. mo mo says:


  18. Sully says:

    Evelyn “Champagne” King – Shame

  19. Carla says:

    The song is ‘You Can Do Magic’ by America. 🙂

  20. Don says:

    one of the most obnoxious commercials ever. I have to mute the TV when I hear that song.

  21. mary says:

    the music part/guy is great but the wording the teacher uses makes music teachers look shallow worrying about the clothes the kids wear instead of saying “the kids will think they need cool clothes to make themselves cool, etc”
    –an easy edit and it would still be a funny ad

  22. Tara says:

    It is not either of the songs listed above. It is driving me batty! What is the song he used? I want it for my ipod!!

    • Marvin says:

      Tara, you’re exactly right! It’s not Carribean Queen, not Shame, not “You Can Do Magic”. Driving me nuts too! In the same way he keeps repeating “Denim”, the original song was very repetitive–I just can’t think of it! I was thinking it may have been part of an 80’s movie soundtrack album–but just not sure!

  23. Craig says:

    I agree with everyone who said that all the songs given aren’t the original song. I believe the song was a late 70’s early 80’s song sung by 1 man. Title might have been Hey Lady…..maybe this will help because I’m going insane trying to figure it out.

  24. TK says:

    The song is “WORD Up” by Cameo. Great commercial

  25. emma says:

    I totally think its supposed to be WHATS THE WORD OH WORD UP! it reminds me of that song even if its not it. THANK YOU I just saw someone post it was. KNEW IT!

  26. jimrook says:

    It was taken from Word Up by Cameo

  27. vivian renaud says:

    who is the teacher ive seen him before

  28. heather says:

    The song is a play on Word Up by Cameo

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