Madness song "Baggy Trousers" in TV ad for Colgate toothpaste
Sometimes when artists license their music for use in a TV commercial you feel compelled to cringe, oft feeling like they have somehow betrayed you (the dedicated music fan) by selling out and discrediting all the sincere association you once had with said song. But then in other instances the use seems perfectly fitting. Such is the case with the early 80's use of the great ska/pop song "Baggy Trousers" by the ever-distinctly British band Madness in a UK TV commercial for Colgate's (then new) Blue Minty Gel line of toothpaste.
The song is taken from the 2Tone band's 1980 album Absolutely and was written by lead singer Suggs (born Graham McPherson). Its lyrics reminisce about school days and the song's accompanying music video was partly shot in a boys school, hence the use of the song in the TV spot featuring school boys (who do a fun spot-on imitiation of Madness) seems most appropriate, with their re-appropriation of the lyrics into a ditty promoting dental hygiene coming across as clever, not crass.
Above is the UK television Colgate spot and below is the Madness video for the original song, released as a single in September 1980, which peaked at number 3 in the UK singles chart that year. Note that the song was also featured in the 2001 film soundtrack to Mean Machine and was additionally used continually throughout the play The History Boys. Reportedly the inside joke is that baggy trousers are one of the initial signs of madness.
Madness video for "Baggy Trousers"