Do You Believe in Music?
Have you seen or heard about the Bernie Sanders commercial that features “America” by Simon & Garfunkel? Since that is one of my all-time favorite songs, I was delighted to see it reprised for a new generation, even if it was for a political ad.
Advertising creatives have always embraced the power of music to make an emotional connection with their audiences. Do you remember the hit song by the Carpenters, "We’ve Only Just Begun"? It was actually written for use in a bank commercial before it became a pop classic. A little later, Nike appropriated (for a hefty price I’m sure), the Beatles hit, "Revolution". And just the other day, I saw a Volkswagen Passat commercial featuring a father out having fun with his sons. The music was the KISS classic, "Beth" and the video parallel with the lyrics “Beth I hear you calling, but I can’t come home right now. Me and the boys are playing…” was brilliant.
Great music can sometimes transcend the transition between commercial and popular music as evidenced by the examples above. One type of commercial music that rarely becomes part of the popular culture, however, is the lowly jingle. Jingles were seldom more than melodic eye worms designed to aid memorability. Some national jingles weren’t terrible like those for Green Giant and Kit Kat. But most local and regional jingles were terrible and, happily, they mostly went away around the turn of the century. Unhappily, however, I sense they are making a comeback. All of a sudden, there are all kinds of local TV advertisers using them. To make matters worse, they all sound like they were written by the same people and recorded by the same vocalists. One would be hard-pressed to remember anything about them. Not the brand. Not the offer. And certainly not the message.
Those of you who may occasionally read these articles will recognize a familiar theme to my lament. Too many advertisers seem to believe creativity is a luxury rather than a necessity. It’s not that these advertisers are penny-pinchers overall. In fact, many of them spend outrageous sums of money on their media buys - probably much more than they would need to if they produced ads that people might actually want to see and hear. But they have the misguided notion that volume trumps tastefulness. As a result, consumers will continue to suffer in the not-so silence of bad jingles.
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