Debates rage to this day as to whether aligning a deceased artist with a brand is good for either parties. When Kurt Cobain and Sid Vicious were tied to Doc Martens in 2007 there was such an uproar that the ads were yanked (even costing Saatchi the gig.)
When done right, though, it can be seamless and work for both sides.
In 2000, Volkswagen licensed the beautiful and haunting “Pink Moon” by Nick Drake as the soundtrack to their Cabrio spot. Of course, the die hard fans of the deceased singer complained but the exposure was tremendous for Drake whose back catalog sales skyrocketed (shot up to 1,858 in a single week from 100) while helping Cabrio appeal to the twenty-somethings they were targeting.