Making Blues More Mainstream-Jazz In Advertising

William Sakovich sakovich@GOL.COM
Mon Dec 7 06:58:56 EST 1998

Alan  writes:

>This Sunday's New York Times has an interesting article on the increased
>of jazz in both print and television advertising.  The article starts:
>"Turn on the television, and there's John Coltrane's resonant saxophone in
>commercials for Jeep Cherokee and Burger King...." and goes on to mention
>other artists featured in national ads.  My favorite quote of the article:
>"No one would have guessed that music once identified with the demimonde of
>smoky bars and drug addicts would become mainstream, capable, at least in
>minds of advertisers, of selling almost anything."  Sound familiar?

This has been going on in Japan for some time. One successful campaign for
(I think it was) canned hot coffee (sold in vending machines here) featured
Take Five by Dave Brubeck.

A few years ago, there was a commercial in which Dexter Gordon and Wynton
Marsalis both appeared. I think it was for a hard liquor ad, which is still
acceptable here.

Sometimes this produces oddities. The vocal version of the Work Song, sung
by Oscar Brown Jr. (?) was used for a commercial that featured jazz
trumpeter Hino Terumasa (I think Terumasa is the trumpet brother) in a
tuxedo arriving at a swanky outdoor party with a small group of people in a
private helicopter. Nothing could be more at odds with the image of the
commercial (I forget the product) than the lyrics of that song.

It was pointed out by someone who understood this that Hino is hip enough to
know better, even if the average Japanese public has no clue about what the
words mean (and could care less). The stuff we do if the money's right...

- Bill Sakovich

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