If a jingle falls in the forest

An interesting debate raged at Cheese Fry headquarters regarding the Kelly Ripa commercial for Electrolux washer and dryer:

Do you recognize the music?  Is it important that you do?

It's the theme to the 1964-72 TV series "Bewitched."  The implication seems to be that if you use this product, you'll have the sort of supernatural ability to multi-task household chores that was so common to Elizabeth Montgomery's character on the show.

But who remembers that show?  Or its theme song?

And does it matter?

The key question: to whom is Electrolux selling its product?

One would might assume that it's young adults with small children who might be looking for new washers and dryers.  Kelly Ripa is a youthful 42 with three children, so this makes sense. But would anyone Ripa's age or younger get the "Bewitched" reference?  The Cheese Fry is almost 40.  We watched "Bewitched" in reruns as a kid and has vague memories of it, but it's certainly not filling TV schedules today and winning new fans.  Mrs. Cheese Fry (still comfortably in her 30s) didn't recognize the song until told, then she said she remembered it.  More important to her was the old-school retro mood it conveyed, harkening back to simpler days of nuclear families.

And then we looked at the price.

Those units go for $1600 each.  That could price most 30-something parents right out of the market.

So then maybe this spot really is for the Baby Boomers who know "Bewitched" very well, who have more disposable income, and who know Ripa best from her role in the older-skewing morning show with 70-something Regis Philbin.

What's this all mean?  How should we know?

But someone certainly chose that music for a specific reason.  Often it's very clear to us why recognizable pop-culture song cues are used.  Advertisers like to reference songs that appeal to the target demo, which is why Generation X gets TV spots with Motley Crue selling cars while Baby Boomers get Led Zeppelin selling cars.  They're creating a clear connection with the market, linking the song to the product.  This is opposed to music like in say, iPod spots, that are so obscure that they're more about conveying mood than making a specific pop culture reference.

So we're confused by the "Bewitched" theme because the reference is so specific, so perfectly in tune with the spot's content, yet could well go unrecognized by a good chunk of the viewer.

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