Saturday, June 7, 2008

And Now a Brief Pause for a Word from our Sponsor

Ring around the collar... Pop pop fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is...Winston tastes good like a (knock knock) cigarette should. Sound familiar? If you lived in the US in the 1960's and 70's, you share a collective consciousness of these and thousands of other TV commercial slogans, rhymes and ditties. They are all worn into the long term memory grooves of our brains. Who could ever forget the bilious husband who was forced to eat "marshmellow meatballs" (Alka Seltzer) the cranky granny demanding "Where's the Meat" (Wendys) or the soaring anthem of all the friendly folks who would "like to teach the world to perfect harmony" (Coke). From the ridiculous to the sublime to the questionable grammar of (my personal favorite) "Chock Full of Nuts is the heavenly coffee...better coffee millionaires, money can't buy". This is a jingle sung by a choir of angels!

Here's a salute to television commercials. Thanks to these little 30 and 60 second messages, we have been able to view millions of hours of nearly free television content for over 50 years. Mundane, maddening or (occasionally) brilliant, these little mini-movies have paid the freight for viewers to be able to enjoy gems like M.A.S.H., and The Office and even our beloved I Love Lucy. I don't believe TiVo is the death knell for TV advertising. Not when my son uses it to rewind and watch a favorite spot over and over again. Clever commercials thrive in the new digital environment, like the iconic and award winning 1984 Apple spot that I've posted above. It has been viewed more than two million times on You Tube. And more than 20 years later, Apple is still charming viewers with the Mac and PC guys (below). By the way, this spot oddly makes me like PC's and Windows even more because the hapless character is so endearing.

Everyone has a most loved or most hated commercial. What's yours?

1 comment:

Scott said...

Well, Jane, you know, I am Madison Avenue's best friend! Love this post. That 1984 Apple commercial started the Super Bowl advertising craze. It all began with that spot. Now we watch the Super Bowl for the commercials as much as for the game!
In my childhood & teen years, I have always loved all things Alka Seltzer, from "The Blahs," the animated spot voiced over by Gene Wilder (with the guy's head that keeps rolling off his shoulders), to "Momma Mia That's a Speecy Spicy Meatball" to "I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing."
I also loved all soda commercials from 1969 to the mid 70s (Coca-Cola's "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," Pepsi generation with the puppies jumping all over the toddler licking him; 7-Up's "This is the Cola nut" and all Dr. Pepper Commercials. How hot was David Naughton in that geeky vest singing I'm a Pepper?!!)
One of my other all time favorites was for Great American Soups, where Ann Miller literally goes into a whole song and dance, and at the end her husband asks, "why do you have to make such a big deal of everything. If I can find it on youtube I'll post it!