Who Am I?

My photo
A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

07 March 2007

Catch The Wind

Catching My Attention:

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
Of uncertainty
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.

I am a child of the ‘60s. And that song touched a nerve like you wouldn't believe...brought back a flood of fond memories that made me feel…I don’t know, all gooey inside. Like I say, I didn’t remember which car Volvo was advertising, only that it made me want one! And there isn’t even any place to drive one down here.

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
1965. I'm surprised that no one has used it in a t.v. commercial before now.

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:

"Purely anecdotal: I’m watching TV. I hear a tune I haven’t heard in thirty-five, forty years. My mind goes off into the ether. “Wow. What a great song. I’d forgotten all about it. I had the album. The cover was blue . . . And there were a bunch of other great songs on that album. What the hell were they? I can’t remember . . . I wonder if I can get it on Amazon. There’s probably only a compilation of his hits, or a boxed set. But I just want the CD of the album. I’ll have to remember to check the next time I’m online ..” By then, the commercial is over. In fact, probably three other commercials are over. I have no idea what the product is, or what any of the other products are."

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
F-4U Corsairs in WWII to jets to helicopters during the Korean Conflict. Bob loves to fly. He has owned ten motorcycles, and his favorite foods are red beans and rice and key lime pie. And this is not Bob writing this. Really. It's someone else.”

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.


Hal Johnson said...

Hal Johnson wants you to know that he really enjoyed this post . . .

Bob Barbanes said...

LOL, very funny, Hal. A joke that works on a couple of different levels! I love those. But people without blogs and/or those who don't get email notification of comments wouldn't get half of it. Thanks for the comment. And thanks for the laugh - a good way to start off each day.

Hal Johnson said...

Thanks Bob. I'm funnier when suffering from insomnia. I know what you mean about the third-person thing. When I read a blog bio in the third-person, I have to fight the tendency to color the writer as a pompous blow-hard. But hey, at least I fight it.

Matt said...

Ahh, how I miss the smartass banter...too funny man.

Hal Johnson said...

It's a funny thing about music and nostalgia. We usually associate nostalgia with stuff we were fond of. But hey, I hated disco during its 70's heyday, yet find myself tapping my foot when I hear that old stuff on a commercial . . .

David said...

Bob, I have mixed feeling about music and marketing too. I have mixed feelings about the "All Request Weekend" on the classic rock staion here. People can be so repititious. BUT, ya get the nuggets! Haven't heard 'em for years or maybe never. I want to ask for help on one. It's about flying! "Tree Top Flyer"? That may be the title. Ring any bells? WHO is it?! Was going to 'e' the station but while you're on the topic.

Bob Barbanes said...

Hal, thing about disco was that it "tapped" (no pun intended) into every human's desire to dance. Hey man, we all got rhythm.

David, are you thinking of Stephen Still's "Treetop Flyer?" It was covered by...um, Jimmy Buffet, I think (no surprise there). And it was reportedly the song that caused Ray LaMontagne to quit his day job and pursue a career in music - something for which I am personally very thankful.

Chuck Nyren said...

Thanks for quoting me, Bob. Yup - all those commercials using music from the past is insulting - and a big mistake.

If you had kept reading the link in my blog profile all the way to the last sentence you'd see that I make fun of me like you do:

Scroll to the end.

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