Five of the best corporate songs

'Music/Makes the people/Come together', a wise woman once sang. In these cases, though, the employees presumably wanted to get as far away as possible.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 16 Oct 2013

How's your team? Looking a little worse for wear? Feeling the effects of the downturn? Why not make like Ernst & Young, KPMG or even Starbucks, and pay someone to pen your very own corporate song? Just to get you inspired, MT's scouted out the top five examples of company songwriting. No, really. No need to thank us. Honest...

Ernst & Young

It Was a Happy Day

Recorded, supposedly, after a 2001 team-building day
Sounds like
Whoopi Goldberg circa Sister Act 2, being mugged by a mob of accountants.
Bouncy, soulful, dead behind the eyes.
Sample lyrics
Oh happy day/Oh happy day/When Ernst & Young/Showed me a better way.
Extra points for  The ‘choir’ of Ernst & Young workers, miming, bobbing and clapping merrily out of time in the background of the video, clearly trying to suppress the urge to flee. Also, the bold inclusion of the words ‘break it down’, like that’s what accountants say all the time.


A Dream of Power and Energy

Sounds like
The music they play over the credits of a Disney movie
Has an unmistakable tinge of sadness about her voice. Subtext of ‘I was going to be famous’.
Sample lyrics
KPMG/We’re strong as can be/A team of power and energy/We go for the gold/Together we hold/On to a vision of global strategy
Extra points for Finding words to rhyme with both ‘strategy’ and ‘innovate’. Brave steps toward syncopation. A key change to rival anything by Westlife.


We built this Starbucks

Came about as entertainment for the (prestigious) ‘Starbucks Licensed Stores Awards’, when a band comprised of the company’s senior management made a surprise appearance ‘in rock’n’roll Halloween costumes’ (according to one blogger), miming along to this.
Sounds like
Starship’s ‘We Built This City’
By the sounds of it, the entirety of Starbucks’ senior team has sinus problems.
Sample lyrics
Knee deep in the mocha/Making coffee right/So many partners/Working late at night… We built this Starbucks/On heart and soul
Extra points for The tantalising prospect that Howard Schultz may have been involved. The impressive falsetto (one can only hope by Schultz himself) during the final refrain.

American Express

The Blue Box Values

Apparently commissioned from professional corporate song writers
Sounds like
Now! That’s What I Call Easy Listening, Vol 1
In a just world, what should have happened to Cliff Richard.
Sample lyrics
Clients and community come first/Every day I look for ways to better live and work/I show a dignity/Maintain my integrity/Qualities in which I’m well-versed… The blue box values/They breed success/The blue box values/Bring out your best/The blue box values/Don’t settle for less/I work for American Express
Extra points for Innovative interplay of stock photography in the video (particularly ‘women jumping’ at 1.46) and pictures of kids wearing t-shirts with Amex logos on; what sounds like an oboe solo just after the bridge. Avoiding the temptation to use the words ‘take it to the bridge’

McKinsey & Company


This one’s actually been kicking around the internet since 2002, when it topped a chart of cringe-inducing corporate songs.
Sounds like
If the Venga boys had been from Bollywood with Rebecca Black’s songwriter.
Curiously bad at English.
Sample lyrics
We are Em-See-Kay-See/McKinsey knowledge centre/Na na na na na na na na na/Na na na na na
Extra points for That rap. More Abs from 5ive than Gangsta’s Paradise, it’s presumably designed to give management consultancy an urban edge. In the event, the only effect is the rather disquieting realisation that someone, somewhere, paid for this stuff.

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