Recently, there was a television commercial for Volvo cars. Although I am a “car nut,” I remember little about the commercial specifically other than they used as the soundtrack a delicate, poignant song called “Catch The Wind” by a 1960’s folk artist named Donovan. Beautiful song! Just his soft voice and an acoustic guitar for the first two verses:
In the chilly hours and minutes
I want to be
In the warm hold of your loving mind.
To feel you all around me
And to take your hand
Along the sand
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.
Whoa. Take me back, country roads! Wow.
EDIT! Got to love YouTube! I found one of the very commercials of which I spea...er, write (there are others). Now, they don't use the entire first two verses, but you can get the idea.
Donovan was one of the first single-name artists. He was touted to be England’s answer to Bob Dylan. Society seems to have some neurotic need to have a counterpoint to everything. A yang for every yin. If England had The Beatles, then America had to have our “answer to The Beatles” (although we didn’t). And we desperately search for these things, as if they have some meaning or importance (although they don’t).
But Donovan was never a Dylan. Donovan was a spacey hippy-dippy who sang dreamy, tender songs about the lost continent of Atlantis and electrical bananas. "Catch The Wind" was his first hit back in
But then, just yesterday the t.v. was on in the main house which is just one big, open kitchen/dining room/den. Our cook keeps the t.v. on constantly (it’s soooooo annoying) when I'm trying to work. I hear "Catch The Wind" and look up, expecting to see the Volvo commercial. Whaddya know, it is a commercial for yet another company that's using the song! (Hello, originality?) I don’t remember what product or company it was for, only that there was some kid bottling air at the seashore, then taking it on a long journey to his grandfather’s(?) birthday party to let it out. Who knows. I didn’t care; I wasn’t paying attention. I was mesmerized again by the snippet of that wonderful song.
I hate quoting other people’s blogs, but I found an interesting passage in Chuck Nyren’s “Advertising To Baby Boomers” blog:
Nyren hit the nail on the head (and although he didn't say it, it's like he's referring to the same commercial I'm talking about here). Advertising agencies are targeting us baby boomers big time. They think they’re being clever by using these “trigger” songs from our past, but a lot of time we just remember the song and not the product. I had to google the second commercial that used “Catch The Wind” to find out that it was an ad for G.E. (Love that instantaneous Google!)
There is a cruise line that uses punk-rock artist Iggy Pop’s relatively-obscure song, “Lust For Life” as its soundtrack. Everyone looks like they’ve having a wonderful time rock-climbing and jet-skiing to Iggy’s pounding, drum-heavy tune. It makes taking a cruise look thrill-a-minute exciting! But as many times as I've seen the commercial, do not ask me which cruise line it is for. Carnival? Royal Caribbean? Are there others? Your guess is as good as mine. I’m not a cruise kind of guy (you know me and boats…), but if I were, that spot would probably make me want to take one. Pity that the commercial didn’t register more firmly in my mind to make me want to take a trip on that particular cruise line. What are these advertising people thinking? That it’s “good enough” to get people merely thinking about buying a Volvo or taking a cruise? Isn’t product identity worth anything anymore?
There are those who don’t like the corrupting of our past: using old, iconic songs for crass, commercial purposes. To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about it. On one hand I agree that commercializing our musical heritage is wrong. But on the other, I hadn’t heard “Catch The Wind” in so long…and now it’s in rotation on my iPod, along with some other Donovan tunes that I fondly recall but had forgoten. So, is using such music in commercials bad? You couldn't prove it by me.
All I know is that I still want a damn Volvo.
By the way, while I’m at it here’s how Chuck Nyren’s expanded profile reads on his blog:
“Chuck Nyren is an award-winning advertising video producer, creative strategist, consultant, and copywriter focusing on The Baby Boomer Market. Chuck has been in advertising since before he was born - a true 'Madison Avenue Baby.' His grandfather Sid Schwinn was one of…”
Wait...didn’t he write that himself? Or did he actually get someone else to come in and ghost-write up a profile on HIS blog? I know I shouldn't make fun, but...
PET PEEVE TIME: It really irks me when people refer to themselves in the third-person. Are you that egotistical? I’m sorry, but it would be like my profile reading:
“Bob Barbanes has been in aviation since before he was born. His father was a pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps, flying everything from
But I couldn’t do that to you. I respect you too much. I know that you know that I write every word of this blog…uhh…well, except for that excerpt above from Nyren’s blog. So you’ll never hear me refer to myself in the third-person.