Monday, November 27, 2006

The Day the Commercial Died

The older I get the more I become a sport monogamist, so Thanksgiving is always a bit hard on the system. Not only is there a lot of football, there's a lot I can't even begin to get excited about, all apologies to Kansas and Missouri (I think one of the teams won). I'm so out of it this year I had to ask if Philip Rivers was having a good year for the Chargers.

That means I'm equally taken by surprise by football tv ads, which seem to be either for beer, Viagra, or trucks, an unholy trinity of masculinity. I'll ignore the first two items on the y-chromosome wish list to focus on the Chevy ad that drove me crazy this weekend. It seems some marketing genius thought using "American Pie" as the music for a Chevy ad--heck, it mentions Chevy already--was a good idea. But to do that, first, they can only include the chorus, or else someone would have to get up halfway through the commercial and flip it over so we could see the rest.* Second, they have to leave out half the chorus's lyrics. We get to hear: "Bye, bye, Miss American Pie, Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry," then instrumental until we can hear again, "Bye, bye, Miss American Pie, Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry."

Now, either Chevy thinks we're all too-hopped up on beer and Viagra to focus/remember, but the missing lines we might end up singing anyway in our karaoked culture are:
And them good ol' boys were drinking whisky and rye singing
This'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die
Good ol' boys are fine and, uh, good, for a bit of football, although having them drink whisky and rye might not be the best idea if they're about to climb behind the wheel of their S-10. (Why McLean has them drinking both whisky and rye is a different conundrum, but I'll just scotch that question for now.) But we sure as hell can't market things by telling the customer: Buy our product and DIE! Today!

Then again, that makes haggling over financing a whole lot easier.

*For those of you born post-vinyl, the Don McLean 45 single of "American Pie" was on both sides of the disc, it was so long. I think the label had a warning--if playing this song lasts longer than 4 hours, consult a DJ.


Anonymous Mike said...


I don't watch as much football as I used to either, and the standard broadcast these days ventures close to the Unwatchable: constant zooming graphics with "wooosh" sound effects, screaming pontificators with microphones blathering on with one cliche after another, camera hogging after every "play," etc.

Then there are the commercials.

Gee, I guess I'm juts a curmudgeon.

3:46 AM  

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