April 13, 2009

Classic songs from commercials around the world (Part 1)

Tootsie Roll If you don’t remember at least one song from a commercial, where have you been all these years? It’s no secret that television advertisement has been playing with our minds from the very beginning. One of their favorite methods has been to create catchy tunes for us to sing. In fact, we loved some of these songs as a child, we knew them by heart, and surely we still know them by heart.

To be fair, old commercials were very nice with our innocent minds, compared to the ones we see today. Carrie McLaren explains:

Early advertising music had different aims than it does now. Music then was used as a mnemonic device, using rhyme and repetition to help keep a brand name in mind. Music now is more often employed as 'borrowed interest,' capturing a feeling, setting a mood, recalling past experiences and playing them back on behalf of the sponsors.

Fortunately, the following ads are somewhat old, they were made around the 80’s or the 90’s, so you will still be half sane by the end of this post. An interesting thing to notice is how similar are they to one another, despite having been created in distant places. Most of these commercials caused me some nostalgia, even the ones I haven’t seen before!

1. Cafe Águila Roja - Colombia

Lets start with the one I sang as a child. This commercial was put on the air every Christmas since the late 80’s and was repeated until everybody had learned it. I believe it was put until recent years, for a grand total of three Colombian generations listening to it. The advertised product: coffee. The target audience: children. Why I have a cup of coffee over my desk right now is a no brainer.

2. Tootsie Rolls – United States

Tootsie Rolls are one of the best-selling candies in the world. The catchy tune of this commercial is easily remembered by thousands of Americans:

The world looks mighty good to me, 'cause Tootsie Rolls are all I see
Whatever it is I think I see, becomes a Tootsie Roll to me
Tootsie Roll how I want your chocolatey chew,
Tootsie Roll I think I'm in love with you
Whatever it is I think I see, becomes a Tootsie Roll to me.

According to Wikipedia, this is one of the more enduring jingles in American popular culture:

Recorded at Blank Tape Studios in 1976, it is still occasionally played today. The jingle was sung by a nine-year-old girl and a thirteen-year-old boy. The children were paid $50 each for their work.

There’s also a psychedelic version someone made for fun.

3. Cucurucu – Russia

Cucurucu, a Russian chocolate candy, was created soon after the fall of the Soviet Union, around 1992. The economic situation in the new Russian Federation was critical, so not many Russian children had the opportunity to prove Cucurucu. But, apparently, the ones who did, if you trust random comments on the internet, didn’t like it so much!

4. Aranciata Sanpellegrino – Italia

The next commercial is about an Italian orange juice called Sanpellegrino. I liked the jingle because of the cute voice of the children. I then read some of the comments the people made on the video. It caught my attention that a kind of mispronunciation called erre moscia, is hated by many Italians. If you, like me, haven’t heard the term before, listen to it for yourself:

I had to pay careful attention in order to catch the infamous erre moscia in the voice of the kid. But it didn’t bother me at all. Did it bother you?

5. Faber-Castell Aquarela

We conclude this post with a colorful commercial that features a remarkable song composed by two key figures of the Brazilian music. This is the kind of commercial that I would have remembered with pleasure had I been Brazilian.

The composers of the song, called “Aquarela”, were Toquinho, a Brazilian guitarist with a career that spans 40 years,  and Vinícius de Moraes, who was a seminal figure in the contemporary Brazilian music, nothing less than the man who shaped the bossa nova to its current form. The video was directed by Guto Carvalho, an artist that loves birds and studies their motion as well as the motion of the clouds. We can easily see the outcome of his passion in this Faber-Castell’s remarkable commercial.

To be continued…

The world of advertisement music is exciting. We will continue this series some time in the future. Meanwhile, keep enjoying the daily music flux from all over the world!

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