Erkki Pekkilä: "Connotative Meanings and Advertising Music" (6/11)


There is no doubt that the silent picture would leave the viewer as uncertain about the target audience at whom the commercial had been aimed. Nowadays, mainstream rock signifies a large demographic group from young people to middle-aged, all of whom probably will buy and chew gum. Undoubtedly a silent advertisement would not induce the viewer to see the product presentation to the end because the fragmentary picture flow reminds us of music videos that do not give the promise of a climax. Here, the viewer remains to listen to the piece and its chorus, which after a moment comes and rewards the listener; the waiting was not vain.

The importance of music in the commercial is to tie together the flow of pictures, to give the commercial continuity, to induce the viewer to see the commercial from the beginning to the end and also to create an emotional undertone and some kind of climax.

The Relation to the Music Video

This chewing-gum publicity piece is in many ways reminiscent of a music video. Like a music video, the commercial is built upon a jingle with a introductory part and a chorus with a drive. As in music videos, the visuals of the commercial are very often the illustration of the lyrics. The editing of the picture is reminiscent of a music video but much faster in pace. The rapid montage rhythm explains the fact that in the minute long fragment they have tried to put as much information as possible. From the music video this commercial is distinguished by the fact that the pictures are unnaturally perfect and beautiful. Another distinction is that in the commercial the product, the chewing gum, is shown instead of the star.

The fact that the commercial and the music may be close to each other, as in this case, is not a surprise. I have noted this phenomenon earlier when I analyzed a beer commercial and a music video that had the same tune behind them. That both were appropriate matches was obvious (Pekkilä 1993). If we think the same thing another way around, from the point of view of a music video, music video researchers have found connections between music videos to advertising music, as well. For instance Kaplan (1987, 13-14) regards music videos as basically advertising material -- or sales promotion videos. The reason is a short, commercial-like, four minute length, illogical pictorial changes and avant-garde styles imitating the commercial. Similarities in the production side are comparable kinds of freelance production groups, the absence of production credits at the end of the video and financial ties to the record company.

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AS/SA Nº 4, Article 6 : Page 6 / 11

© 1998, AS/SA

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