Erkki Pekkilä: "Connotative Meanings and Advertising Music" (5/11)


The lyrics of the song and the visuals are tied to each other. When we hear the line "It goes with the guys that handle the sky," we see pilots, the chewing gum and the jet. When we hear "it goes with the lows, it goes with the highs," we see a girl flagging down a taxi, a man looking at himself in the mirror and a stick of chewing gum. When we hear "It goes with the girls who live in the sun" we see girls running on the beach and a girl turning around. When we hear "It's a part of the job," we see men working in a business firm and girl flirting with a body-builder on a beach. When we hear "Let's try," we see a girl with a pack of chewing gum. When, in the chorus section, we hear "It's a piece of America" we see a Frisbee and balloons, in "share a little piece of America," baseball and chewing gum, "let's try" a little boy, "It's a piece of America" the military cadets and a basketball court and when we hear "share a little piece of America" the chewing gum.


When considered together, the visuals, the music and the lyrics of the commercial become a remarkably unified whole. All these elements balance well with each other and give support to each other. The lyrics and the picture are bound to each other because the same things are repeated in each other. Although telling the same thing twice may seem unessential, the explanation in this case is probably that the visual flashes are very fast and short and the advertiser has in this way tried to guarantee that the audience gets the message. The chorus that is also in a written form at the end of the commercial is at the same time the "hook" of the whole advertising copy. The function of music is very primary. This could even be regarded as a radio commercial based on a jingle, to which visuals were later added. Although this is not probably the case, the commercial would work well as a radio commercial as well. In this case it would require a "voice over" or a reporter text to explain what is being sold.

Because this commercial is so heavily based on music, it would not be hard to think of what kind of impression the commercial might leave without it. Without the music track the flash-like picture stories would be quite inconceivable since the meaning of the flashes will become apparent only after the lyrics of the song have been heard. The narration in the commercial comes into meaning only after the words. This narration would feel very incomplete - maybe even avant-garde - if there was no music to put the pieces together. Now there is a unified sound-track on the behind, a musical continuity that goes advances note by note, bar by bar, phrase by phrase, section by section, this giving the pictures the feeling of a unified whole. There is no doubt that without music the commercial would leave the viewer indifferent, because the silence would give him the possibility of watching the visuals in a neutral or critical way. Now the music starts with a trivial section A- but goes on the to the chorus. Then comes an emotional climax, where the singer and the choir repeat the keywords "America" and "share."

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AS/SA Nº 4, Article 6 : Page 5 / 11

© 1998, AS/SA

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