A few days ago this article was simply going to discuss a TV commercial that Betsy and I cringed at every time it aired.
The commercial in review here is for Talbots, a “Women’s Clothing and Apparel” store. The music is the first thing I noticed – a jarring, growling female singer going on about evolving, revolving, revolution and history repeating. When I actually watched the commercial I was annoyed by the woman who the ad focuses on. She’s oh-so properly dressed in what looks like a business suit with leather gloves and a big purse hanging from one arm. She’s swinging her hips like a runway model as she walks through city streets. Most annoying to me was the smug, almost predatory look she has throughout the ad.
It wasn’t until the third or fourth viewing that I realized that the commercial represents her walking through several eras. First in black and white with the cars in the street and a man in a hat evoking a period between the 1950s and early 1960s. Next she transitions to the 1970s with a washed-out color palate and others wearing bell-bottoms among various hallmarks of that generation. Then she’s obviously in our current era looking more smug than ever. Aha! She’s obviously proud that her outfit has lasted (endured?) over 40 years. How she maintained her youth is another matter I suppose.
If I had seen this only once or twice nothing more would have come of it. However, this commercial committed the cardinal sin of airing over and over and over…. Once I’ve seen/heard a commercial that irritates me what seems like a hundred times or more my opinion turns to loathing.
I had never heard of Talbots before. I queried Betsy and she had, as well as visited their stores in the past. Her opinion was that it was a store for mature women and dowdy fashions. Eureka … now I understood the underlying point of the ad was to appeal to a younger generation by implying their fashions are “timeless.”
So, back to the music. A lot of commercials can be ignored, but the voice of that singer! It was grating, yet somehow familiar. It took me barely a couple of minutes of research to find that the voice belonged to none other than Shirley Bassey. She of three of the most well-known James Bond movie themes. By now I was well into a marathon session of Link Surfing.
At first I assumed the song History Repeating was quite old, but I found it was released in 1998 by a group I had never heard of, Propellerheads. And this was not the first time it had been used in a commercial. In 2000 it was used for a Jaguar Commercial. The song has also been featured in the soundtracks of There’s Something About Mary and It’s Complicated as well as a TV promo for Sex and the City. A couple of other music artists have covered it in their albums, and believe it or not, it is among other songs turned into commercial jingles on a CD entitled As Seen on TV: Songs from Commercials.
Well I won’t go on about all the other surfing, references and trivia I found. It’s amazing how much is out there, trivial or not, about one annoying commercial. Talbots even has a Facebook Page where you can find the video. My urge to grouch about that commercial ended up costing me at least an hour of surfing, not including writing this article. Next time a commercial annoys me, I should just come here and vent my opinion right away. Although there is something to be said about research and the hunt for trivial facts. Sometimes you can gain some measure of respect for things that previously annoyed you. Case in point: after finding and viewing the entire song, Betsy is thinking of downloading it to her iPod.
One final note: Instead of assuming that Talbots was the dowdy store Betsy remembered, we decided to visit one a couple of days ago when a day-trip took us in that direction. Well the bulk of clothing we saw there was simply put – awful. Tacky, gaudy and matronly all at once. Of course this was a Talbots Outlet store, so perhaps what we saw were rejects from their primary stores and past seasons.