David Muhlenfeld: Credit Where Credit is Due
The hapless rock band performing in pirate costumes at the fast food joint; the basement dwelling twenty something who wed a credit card defaulter; the hipster relegated to driving a battered subcompact car. The madly catchy songs in the FreeCreditReport.com commercials are the brainchildren of David Muhlenfeld, a copywriter at the Richmond, VA based advertising firm The Martin Agency.
“Officially, I’m a normal copywriter,” says Muhlenfeld. “I’ve been in advertising for years, doing off the radar stuff, so when the Free Credit Report commercials started breaking through it was one of the first things I’d done that had any national impact. Suddenly, I had something to talk about at cocktail parties.” Although an English major in college, Muhlenfeld was first an avid rock musician. “I was a huge synth pop fan and I still can’t get it out of my system or off my iTunes.”
With Muhlenfeld playing guitar and singing, the initial jingle was pitched on a conference call. “We had the good fortune to have a client who loved it straight off and just ran with his gut. Once they did well in the marketplace this was a huge vote of confidence,” says the songwriter. As of now, there are nine spots for the company, all of which have become viral video hits, garnering many millions of views on YouTube.
Muhlenfeld also wrote the cheeky “Extended Family” song that accompanies a spot for Coca Cola/Wal-Mart. While working on this production at Massive Music in New York, the company’s Keith Haluska suggested that Muhlenfeld affiliate with SESAC. “Keith said, ‘Don’t waste time, give them a call.’ He put me in touch, and SESAC was quick to get me on board.”
Now Muhlenfeld envisions expanding his career beyond commercials. “My agency saw me going in this direction and they helped me set up English Major LLC, to do music that doesn’t fit within the normal agency. I would obviously love to do any kind of pop songwriting or collaborations with artists, and to be able to write for feature films and Pixar movies. I love it all.”