Sometimes you just feel so energised and enthused by your job, you want to burst into song and tell the whole world. On the evidence of the inglorious history of the corporate anthem, you’d be advised to keep it to yourself.
For decades, highly engaged employees have been writing songs – sometimes officially, but more often off their own backs – to celebrate their businesses. They have been universally abysmal.
Fortunately, that didn’t stop Stefan Hansen, a newly hired business analyst at Deloitte in Germany, whose uptempo Europop number created in homage to his new workplace – ‘Making An Impact That Matters’ – went viral, and has already been heard more than 75,000 times.
Hansen joins a roll call of lyrical failures long enough to keep the United Kingdom in Eurovision entrants well into the next century. The earliest incarnation of the corporate anthem can probably be traced to IBM, which in the 1930s encouraged staff to join in with its “rally song”, ‘Ever Onward’, creating songsheets of lyrics including: “Our products now are known, in every zone/Our reputation sparkles like a gem.”
Today, it’s still common in Japan for larger businesses to start the day piping a company tune over the PA. But the market has truly been captured by tech firms and management consultancies. PwC employees created ‘Downright Global’ (“Talkin’ ’bout taxes/state and local”); Salesforce’s resident rapper offers ‘The Dev Life’, in which he “cut his teeth on Java” he “learned from my mama”; The ‘KPMG Song’, meanwhile, comes complete with a music video extolling the virtues of internship at the Big Four firm: “There’s Friday treats/and bumpin’ beats/and really comfy leather seats”.
And if that's not enough to whet your appetite, have a listen to some other highlights from the world of corporate anthems:
- Ernst & Young pushed the boat out when its staff covered 'Oh Happy Day' with a full band and choir
- Software firm Symantec has its own employee-composed theme tune in an R&B style
- The Deloitte rap is regarded as perhaps the nadir of the genre
- By contrast, this folksy tune from Indian car manufacturer Hero Honda shows what happens when you leave it to the professionals