Debuting in 1987, Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up was an undeniable success. Aside from topping sales charts, the pop song and video was a fixture on MTV. But it truly became famous (or infamous) during the early years of the internet through what has become known as Rickrolling.
Now, the new CSAA Insurance Group is banking on nostalgia and Astley’s internet footprint to help celebrate the company’s 100-year legacy.
You know the rules
Rickroll (or Rickrolling) became one of the earliest forms of viral marketing. During the early days of the internet becoming mainstream, people could receive an email attachment or link that would direct to the Never Gonna Give You Up music video, either in full or in part. This can be at times amusing to annoying, but it has become an indelible part of the modern pop culture.
By itself, Never Gonna Give You Up was a chart-topping single for Rick Astley in 1987. Earning spots on the Billboard Top 100 for the U.K. and the U.S., the song helped power Astley’s "Whenever You Need Somebody" album to its 15 million sales figure worldwide during its initial run.
However, becoming the central component of the Rickroll prank is probably what it has become best known for, to which Astley himself acknowledges and appreciates.
The multi-awarded singer and songwriter had this to say about recreating the famous Never Gonna Give You Up video:
Paying homage to my video for the AAA Insurance commercial — from the set to the wardrobe — has been an amazing trip down memory lane. The song has been so good to me, and I'm thrilled to be working with another iconic brand that has certainly stood the test of time.
In addition to being available on YouTube, there are also QR codes in partnership with the CSAA Insurance Group that can be scanned to trigger the video. The QR code includes a hairdo made famous by Astley during his heyday in the 1980s.
— CSAA Insurance Group (@CSAAInsuranceGp) August 15, 2022
The "InsurAAAnce" ad featuring the legendary Rick Astley runs 1 minute and 4 seconds. It features new footage of the music artist recreating scenes from the original 1987 music video of Never Gonna Give You Up. Plus, it cleverly connects the lyrics with a checklist of what the CSAA offers its customers.
As the tagline for the ad goes:
Our legendary service is never gonna let you down… you can start saving today on auto and home coverage that would never run around and desert you. Because with 100 years of experience, InsurAAAnce is no stranger to love or exceptional service.
Executive vice president of Customer Service and Marketing for the CSAA Insurance Group Linda Goldstein had this to say about the collaboration with Astley:
We are thrilled to partner with Rick Astley to not only revisit the joy of his video, but amplify the incredible value that our customers receive with InsurAAAnce. And clearly, the indelible lyrics of Never Gonna Give You Up are one of the best ways we can share that message.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
This is not the first time that Rickrolling has been revived. Just last year, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game featured its own Rickroll within the course of play.
The Rickrolling segment took streamers DrLupo, PaladinAmber, and DanTDM by surprise during gameplay, believing it to be a prank. However, it is an official part of the game with Rick Astley himself appearing in the ad.
Square Enix added Never Gonna Give You Up in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy as a nod to how the song and the video is one of the first and most widespread memes since the early days of the internet. The fact that the character of Star-Lord listens to his retro playlist of 1980s hits on a Walkman provided the perfect opportunity to include the Rickrolling in the Guardians of the Galaxy game as a cool Easter egg.
As of this date, the Rick Astley Never Gonna Give You Up official music video on YouTube has been viewed over 1.27 billion times.