Lars Ulrich: Metallica turn down 19 out of every 20 approaches from brands

Lars Ulrich: the Metallica drummer takes the stage at Cannes Lions
Lars Ulrich: the Metallica drummer takes the stage at Cannes Lions

Lars Ulrich, the drummer and co-founder of heavy metal band Metallica, says his band accepts one in 20 approaches by brands for commercial deals.

Ulrich was speaking at a press conference at The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity yesterday (22 June).

The drummer, whose band has struck commercial deals with brands including Coca-Cola, said: "You just sit there and get presented with a lot of options. I would say that we say yes to one out of 20 things.

"It’s about timing – who the brand is, what they’re offering. It’s pretty straight forward. Is it someone you want to get in bed with or not? Mostly it’s not."

Ulrich also denied that doing sponsorship deals had made them feel like sell-outs. "I think we’ve done pretty well," he said. "I sleep pretty well at night and I think we’ve kept the credibility well in tact. But it’s a different situation to 20 years ago. You have to be adaptable."

Asked what he thought about advertisers (meaning people who make ads, in this context), Ulrich replied: "I think there’s a lot of good people in advertising just doing their job. With Metallica, when we’re doing something creative, we don’t necessarily want to make money or show off.

"It’s kind of like when a child makes a drawing and wants to show people what they’ve done. And that’s kind of where advertisers come in at different levels. They just want to get their stuff out there and one way of doing that is advertising."

Ulrich struggled on a question about what inspires him to make music. He replied: "I have trouble articulating these things because it’s an organic thing and I feel like if I try to articulate then I’m scared it will somehow cheapen the process."

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