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The building of the Forth Bridge: couldn’t be done with half-baked imprecise ideas…

 

Who’s choosing music for ads these days? Because they haven’t got it right.

With close family members successfully working in the music industry, I know something about how it’s done well.

My current gripes are B&Q http://www.diy.com/ and Thomson http://www.thomson.co.uk/ Probably if I was up later, I’d see plenty more.

Thomson sells holidays. B&Q  sells DIY stuff. So why is Thomson using Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and B&Q using George Benson’s Give Me the Night to get their message across?

Let’s cut this into bite size pieces. Thomson sells holidays and flights. The first line of Bohemian Rhapsody (after the evocative piano section used in the ad) is, Mama, just killed a man/ Put a gun against his head/ pulled my trigger now he’s dead. Great. And you want to sell family holidays? Where to? The sunless 6’ x 6’ cell you imagine the perpetrator to inhabit the rest of his life? Thanks, but I’ll pass.

The track conjures a series of bleak images and puts them to music. Genius. An opera, a novel and the most varied piece of music I know (others will gleefully correct me, I’m sure.)

I’ve gone through the whole song in my head trying to find any parts which enhance the travel company’s message. Nothing.

Did the hip, young employee choosing music for this ad not understand the brief? Was there some communication breakdown? Did the chap in charge of choosing music (let’s call him Jason) return from his coffee break to find a post-it note on his desk? Music for sad teddy, abusive child and sun please. Jason thinks, This is pretty dark. (Except for the sun bit.) Oh well. I’m a cool guy in my rubber flip flops. I can do this.

I’ve gone through the whole song in my head trying to find any parts which enhance the travel company’s message. Nothing.

They range from: I don’t wanna die / I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all (obviously been on a Thomson holiday before) and I’m just a poor boy from a poor family (don’t book with Thomson then.) to Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?  Bismillah, no! We will not let you go! (See above). And worse, Too late, my time has come /send shivers down my spine, body aching all the time… (ah, time to go back home.)

Nothing in the song’s lyrics helps build the image of happy family holidays. (Do you think you can love me and leave me to die?) or Just gotta get out, just gotta get right out of here.)

It’s possible Thomson is deeper than I am. They might have chosen this piece of music in a perversely anti-iconic, trans-genre attempt at dismantling of the historic imagery of the song… I swear anyone older than 19 who knows this track will never associate it with sandy beaches and happy children.

Music matters. It engages and includes. Or alienates and confuses. In these ads, for me, the latter.

Let’s have L’Oreal using Love Yourself And Match.com could use Somebody’Else Guy. I don’t know…  (Hours of fun with this subject alone.)

The story of the teddy bear my mind verges on plagiarism anyway. It brings to mind Mick Inkpen’s moving children’s book, Nothing. Maybe that was the idea. (I understand you can’t copyright an idea… but this feels like more than that.)

But back to the topic. The only thing the B&Q ad makes me think of it that the staff can’t wait for closing time. Gimme the Night? Who decided on that one? And what did they think we’d think? Ah, night time, I’ll do some decorating. Or, Can’t wait for the sun to go down: I’ll get to B&Q Or maybe, Did a really bad job with B&Q paint, it’ll look better in the dark.

Music matters. It engages and includes. Or alienates and confuses. In these ads, for me, the latter.

It’s similar to book covers. Some very decent books have done badly because the covers were wrong. But I suppose people will still buy from Thomson and B&Q even if those companies can’t put a decent ad together.

Just makes me think some marketing teams have too much money and don’t know where to look for talent. Yes, the marketing team is separate from the shop. But I thought that it was a whole package: a TV ad to bring the product to the audience’s attention. Done by marrying good visuals with appropriate music.

The new approach seems to be: if you can’t convince, confuse. How many good purchases have you made when you’ve been confused? ‘Nuff said…

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