When did Generation X music become a marketing ploy? At what point did the advertisers decide that it was time to start using punk rock and new wave music to sell us cars, clothes, food, and anything else they can think of? I suppose, since Generation X itself is a construct of mass media, it was inevitable that our music would come to this point.
We are now the target demographic for such things, but it is still upsetting. Just as my mother was upset when Mercury used Fire by Jimi Hendrix to sell Firebirds in the mid-90?s, now we have to hear Forever Young by Alphaville in an attempt to sell us the new Ion.
The commercials are admirable. Showing stages of life and the fact that we have grown up now from our childhood and high school days. The connotation is, if we buy this car we can move on with our life. Leave the past behind and get on with the future. The future where we will hear more songs from the 80’s and 90’s used in commercials to sell us everything from laundry detergent to baby food.
Why don?t we hear jingles anymore? Are advertisers so strapped for new ideas that it is just easier to use an old song or do they truly believe that if we identify with the music it will make us more apt to purchase their products? I have never been swayed to purchase something simply based on the advertising campaign, but I am good at resisting. My affinity for not following blindly gives me the ability to make informed decisions based on things other than advertising campaigns.
Being an informed consumer is what it is all about. The ability to distinguish between good and bad products based on company history and product quality is invaluable. Consumers who buy products merely to have more stuff don’t have the drive to become informed. Reading magazines like Penny Power (the kids version of “Consumer Reports”) and watching Fight Back every night during dinner made me into a consumer of quality rather than quantity. Learning that products may not be all they seem from the commercials, made me able to be an inconspicuous consumer, rather than conspicuous. It gave me the ability to differentiate between quality and crap.
With this knowledge in mind, it is utterly impossible to sell an informed consumer a product simply based on the music used in the commercial. Why then, do advertisers insist on using catchy tunes from a generation ago to try and lure us in? I guess it fits the robot fa?ade. Advertisers think that consumers like this music so if they play it we will follow blindly to the stores to buy the products associated with these songs. What they don?t realize is that the only products that truly go up in sales are the cds of the artists used. This, is a good thing, but I am still miffed by this trend.
I don’t want to hear One Way Or Another by Blondie in a Revlon commercial.
I don’t want to hear Just Can’t Get Enough by Depeche Mode in a Gap commercial or Holiday in Cambodia by the Dead Kennedys in a Levi’s Dockers commercial.
I don’t want to hear Melt With You by Modern English in a Burger King commercial or 88 Lines About 44 Women by the Nails in a Volkswagon commercial.
I don’t want to hear Blue Monday by New Order in a Sunkist commercial or I Know What Boys Like by the Waitresses in a Budweiser commercial.
I don’t want to hear She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult, Tom Sawyer by Rush, How Soon Is Now by the Smiths, Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega, or Cannonball by the Breeders in a Nissan commercial.
I want to hear these songs on the radio, not on the television. The most melancholy part of all this is that MTV now plays more popular music in their commercials, then they do in videos. In the future, commercials may become our only source to truly good music. That will be a sad, yet inevitable day for true music fans everywhere.