Since i watch so much TV, i am exposed to a lot of commercials. And since i watch only a handful of channels, i see the same handful of commercials over and over. i also like to think that i am acutley aware of the subtleties involved in consumer coercion. i know that there are focus groups and marketing people and writers and directors who agonize over every deatil of every commercial that is beamed at me through the cathode ray tube's comforting glow. i tend to notice when a commercial has been shortened, changed, or edited in some way, and it makes me wonder why.
Sometimes, it's an obvious matter of brevity. When they hype some blockbuster flick two weeks before it comes to a theater near you, they will show you all the best parts in a 30 or 60 second spot. Then, after it reaches mass distribution, the marketers assume you know about the movie by now and give you a shorter version.
Sometimes they change the copy of the ad. By "copy," i mean: the words they say in the commercial, but i like to sound like i know what i'm talking about by using marketing jargon.
For instance, there's a sandwich ad airing right now, starring that Jared guy who lost like, 372 pounds by eating nothing but Subways (the sandwiches, not the mass transit trains).
When i first noticed the ad a coupla weeks ago, Jared told us how other fast food dumps ruin chicken by "frying it and covering it with mayonnaise." When i first heard him say that, i thought that that would be a tasty way to enjoy chicken. Mmm. Mayonnaise. Then over the weekend, i saw the commercial a few times, only now he says the other chains ruin chicken by "frying it and slathering it in batter." Okay, that sounds even better.
So i ask you, gentle reader, why did they change the copy? Does slathering it in batter sound worse than covering it with mayonnaise? Did the mayonnaise people get upset and file an anti-defamation complaint against Subway? And if so, do they think the batter people will let them get away with this? Mmm. Batter slather.
Last week, i noticed that one of my favorite artists, Sam Beam, aka Iron & Wine had a song on an M&M's commercial. I was in the bathroom at the time, doing who-knows-what with the door slightly open and i heard his soft, whispery voice sing,
They will see us waving from such great heightsI heard my girlfirend give a, "Hmm!" of curiosity from the other room, and i stopped what i was doing long enough to ask, "Is that Iron & Wine on the TV?"
"Come down now," they'll say
But everything looks perfect from far away
"Come down now," but we'll stay
"It sure sounds like it," she answered. "What are you doing in there?"
"Oh, uh..nothing...um, just combing my hair."
"You don't have enough hair to comb. You don't even own a comb"
"I know, that's why it's taking so long!"
Okay, i'm getting off on a tangent here.
i saw the commercial later on, and confirmed that it was indeed Iron & Wine, and it was indeed the song, "Such Great Heights," and the commercial was indeed, very cool.
Then i saw the commercial a few times over the weekend and they had changed it. It's the same song, but they used a different part. WTF?
I am thinking it's a signSo i pose to you, o kind and gentle reader of this blog: Why did they switch the lyrics for this commercial?
That the freckles in our eyes
Are mirror images and
When we kiss they're perfectly aligned
The name of this spot is "Kaleidoscope" and can be found here (thanks to JT for the link). It's got some trippy visuals, and the lyrics in the original spot may conjure up images of a coupla hippies too high to come down. Is this why they switched? Did they get complaints from one of those radical religious groups that the ad was too "trippy" and to tone it down? What will the hippies' response be? Oh yeah: Mmm...M&M's.
BTW, if you don't have all of Iron & Wine's albums by now, may i persuade you to click here and purchase every one of these releases? You will not be sorry, dear reader. i was lucky enough to finally catch him (with a full band) live a coupla months ago and was blown away by how freakin' awesome it was.
Other Iron & Wine links:
Our Endless Numbered Days LP (2004) reviews: E! Online. Pitchfork. Pop Matters
Woman King EP (2005) reviews: All Music Guide Splendid
Creek Drank the Cradle LP (2002) reviews: All Music Guide JunkMedia Dusted
The Sea & the Rhythm EP (2003) reviews: Prefix MusicEmisssions
Iron & Wine on "The L Word" Season 2 soundtrack? It's a crappy show, but i guess ya gotta do what ya gotta do.