As the hardworking staff promised, we got in touch with the creative director of the 1999 Volkswagen commercial that featured Nick Drake’s Pink Moon:
This all got started when Drake’s producer Joe Boyd said the following in an NPR Weekend All Things Considered interview:
I met the creative team who put the ad together and they were a bunch of kind of slackers from an alternative Boston ad agency. And this guy told me that they built the whole storyboard for the ad around a track by The Church, and the night before the presentation to Volkswagen he was sitting at home smoking . . . something . . . and listening to Pink Moon and he suddenly had this blinding insight that this was the track – not The Church track.
Wrong and wrong – as then-creative director of Arnold Worldwide (not “an alternative Boston ad agency” but the second-largest ad agency in New England) Alan Pafenbach told us:
“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” It makes a better story, so what the hell. He gives us credit and probably between me Lance [Jensen] and Shane Hutton there probably was a general impression of slackerdom. Truth is it happened in the edit and Volkswagen never was given a choice.
In other words, why get technical about it.