BRADENTON, Fla. — The wide world of commercials is no different than any other segment of society. It goes through its periods of fads and fashions. “Way back when” it was the singing commercial or the jingle that led the way. There even were actual companies that produced these jingles for you in general categories with a space open within them to insert the name of the local advertiser. And, of course, some of the national sponsors had tunes created especially for them that took on a bit of a hit-song quality. There are those among you who may even remember “Pepsi Cola Hits the Spot!”
Oh, singing commercials are still around today, but more popular are brief slogans, names and addresses musically presented with live or recorded straight copy doing the sell.
Another fad was the “yell to sell” commercial that was most popular from auto manufacturers and car dealers where the spokesperson hollered at you about the qualities of the auto and the great deals that could be made at the local showroom. These too are still around to some degree, but I recently heard a couple where the dealer presents his story in a low, intimate, friendly manner. This could be the start of a new fashion in the automotive field.
And now another fad appears to be emerging. This is the use of just small snippets of songs and recordings from music hits of the late 1950s through the mid 1960s. Here are some recent and current examples: For Walmart – “The Best Things in Life are Free” sung by Sam Cooke; for Publix Markets – “I Feel Pretty” done by Marni Nixon; for Volkswagen – “The Birds and the Bees” done by Dean Martin; for Dove Chocolates – “Each and Every Day” done by Edith Piaf. All of the preceding originally were recorded in the early ‘60s and to some degree were popular hits. Sad to say, none of these recording artists is still with us. It took a bit of research to track down the specific information.
What is further interesting is that the original lyrics of the songs used in the commercials do not seem to have anything specifically to do with the product or service being advertised. A good example is the Dove Chocolates commercial.This one is sung in French!
The question is why this and why now? Let me put forth a couple of theories. First of all, the songs have a contemporary feel even though they were recorded a half century ago! And most of all, because of their unique quality and style, they are attention-getting. They get the listener to pay attention to the sales message. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Al Herskovitz is president of H&H Communications and a TALKERS marketing consultant. He can be emailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org.