Every Time Kanye’s “Power” Was Used in an Advertisement, Ranked (An Absurdly Detailed Investigation)

By | Posted January 20, 2017
Kanye's smash single has been used many times for advertisements, some to better effect than others.
2017-01-20-kanye-power-advertisement-rankings

For all the trouble that Kanye West has caused over the course of the last year, the world is still very much attracted to his hit single “Power.”

There are plenty of reasons why the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy standout became a staple: the general theme of power, the continuous struggle between Kanye’s ego and his inner child steering his vision, the hanging sword of Damocles that is white supremacy, the rush of the claps and chants over a King Crimson sample. The song is a pompous force, nearly five minutes of your head in a highly saturated cloud.

Even considering all of this, I was still caught off guard when, this morning, I heard “Power” playing in the trailer for the new Power Rangers movie.    

On-the-nose marketing strategy aside, "Power" makes sense as a pump-up song for the next generation of Power Rangers. Since this isn't the first time we've heard "Power" in a movie trailer or advertisement, though, we decided to search high and low for every known instance this song was used in a commercial and ranked them from least to most appropriate using actual Power Bars.

11. American Airlines commercial (2013)

This might just be the most basic use of “Power” on this entire list. The opening instrumental is all we hear, and even though this commercial ran a full three years before Trump’s presidential campaign, hearing talks of a “new American” to the tune of a Kanye track makes me feel dirty. I’m gonna go take a shower.

Ranking: One power bar

Power Bars

10. Fantastic Four trailer (2014)

20th Century Fox editing team: “Hey, we’ve got this bland-looking movie with four superpowered teens. What song should we throw on in the background?”

20th Century Fox studio executive (pauses iPhone playing “Power,” takes headphones out of ears): “I’m sorry, say that again?”

Ranking: One power bar

Power Bars

9. Forza Motorsport 4 E3 trailer (2011)

Cars need power to run, so I guess that’s something. The glamor shots of driving cars gel well with the saturated pomp of the song, so it was a match in uncomplicated heaven.

Ranking: Two power bars  

Power Bars

8. Power Rangers trailer (2017)

Yup. We get it. Power. Juiced up Rangers and Zords kicking ass to the tune of a Kanye record is pretty fire, though.

Ranking: Two power bars

Power Bars

7. Ripper Street trailer (2015)

What do Kanye West and Jack The Ripper have in common? Enough to soundtrack a British crime drama, apparently. Since there's talk of people “becoming monsters” throughout, its usage is appropriate in the broadest possible sense.

Ranking: Two power bars  

Power Bars

6. Invictus fragrance commercial (2013)

It’s easy to tell that this cologne commercial picked a specific part of “Power” for a reason. Starting near the middle of the first verse (“Screams from the haters, got a nice ring to it/ I guess every superhero need his theme music”), a shirtless man walks through a football stadium packed with fans, camera flashes, and even towering goddesses. I guess that’s how it feels to smell like every other guy in the world?

Ranking: Two power bars   

Power Bars

5. The Daily Show commercial (2015)

The Daily Show was ready to make its comeback post-Jon Stewart, and South African comedian Trevor Noah took up the mantle. “Power” is used literally to show the transition of power and provide anticlimactic laughs. Works for me.

Ranking: Three power bars    

Power Bars

4. Limitless trailer (2011)

Yet another frustratingly on-the-nose use of the song here. An experimental drug helps a struggling writer (played by Bradley Cooper) to use his brain to its full potential. Unlimited brain power is alluring, especially when you’re pumped up on dark twisted adrenaline.

Ranking: Three power bars  

Power Bars

3. Saints Row: The Third trailer (2013)

This tongue-in-cheek Grand Theft Auto clone used “Power” in its trailers and even in gameplay to emphasize your rise to power as the leader of the Third Street Saints. There’s just something special about parachuting into an enemy stronghold dressed as a bunny while Kanye plays in the background.

Ranking: Four power bars

Power Bars

2. Broken City trailer (2013)

The story of a corrupt mayor (play by Russell Crowe) at the business end of a do-gooder police officer’s (play by Mark Wahlberg) gun meets the song halfway on the corruption theme. It even gives the trailer a sense of action excitement that the movie itself doesn’t necessarily have, so we’ll call this a big win.

Ranking: Four power bars  

Power Bars

1. The Social Network trailer (2010)

The last three entries on our list hit the nail fairly close to the head, so here we are. The founding of Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg (play by Jesse Eisenberg) leads to a lot of egos butting heads and others getting screwed altogether. The tired juxtaposition of dorky kids doing a thing with a rap track playing in the background shouldn’t work as well as it does, but props to David Fincher for masterfully pulling it all together.   

Ranking: Overcharged

Power Bars

***

By CineMasai. Follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: YouTube

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