Commercials and the New Nostalgia

While watching television last night, I ran across a commercial that I initially found hilarious.

The snippet using in this laundry detergent commercial is from the group Digable Planets. The group has tried an on again, off again resurgence that hasn't seen much success. They have toured in the recent past and found some notoriety, but they're still that one group with that one song.

Now, me being me, I found this commercial hilarious once I started extrapolating how this happened. An ad executive wanted to talk about how effective Tide is in cool water and needed something to highlight this functionality. Sure, you could show everyone setting their washers to cold but something needs to tie it together. How about a song? Yeah, a song would do the trick. So now, Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler, Craig "Doodlebug" Irving, and Mary Ann "Ladybug Mecca" Vieira are getting a royalty check from this. Just another tiny supplement to their income that they likely never would have expected.

But once I thought more in depth about it, I realize this isn't an isolated occurrence. My mind went to another commercial I saw earlier this week.

The Ini Kamoze song was as ubiquitous in 1994 as "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" was in 1992. And that's when it hit me: I'm hearing songs in commercials that I used to hear when I was in elementary school. One thing about still being young is that the decade of your formulation doesn't seem that far away, and then you realize it's actually far away. 1994 was fifteen years ago. MTV still played music back then. Jenny McCarthy was some inextricably hot chick and not a major advocate for curing autism.

Yet, the deeper subtext of all this is that my generation is emerging as a new demographic. I seem to have forgotten that now folks my age and a little older are the people who need to buy laundry detergent and cars. We're supposedly (not me, of course) in an economic standing that can look at these things with seriousness as we build our lives at home. Advertisers are appealing to us with our newfound nostalgia that we didn't know we could have yet.

Yes, I'm getting old. It's weird to think about. I'm hearing songs I grew up with on commercials and actually think about how I grew up with them. It's somewhat jarring to consider this.

What'll be really frightening is when twenty years from now, the Jonas Brothers will be used to sell faucet fixtures.


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