Recently I was surprised to hear operatic singing from a television commercial. There was even a bass voice. You never hear basses sing on television. The ad was for a big financial firm which has figured out how to make money from people who can't wait to be paid. On YouTube I discovered three such opera-mercials - all with the same music but different voices.
The first commercial spoofs an actual opera on stage:
The second focuses on the uses of cash now - like home repair, car repair, newborn quintuplets:
And the third is everyone's favorite setting for opera music - a city bus:
Watching all three of these, I was struck by the recurring use of one particular image: the horned helmet - sometimes called a Viking Helmet. I guess nothing says "Opera" like a metal hat with horns on it.
If you really care whether the Vikings wore Viking helmets and how this particular headgear got to be associated with opera, this Straight Dope article Did Vikings Really Wear Horns On Their Helmets? is for you.
If you think there might be a better music/horned-helmet association, you'd be correct. Here's a picture of Moondog:
The Moondog picture came from here - where you'll find a link to some radio interviews on WBAI. For a while - a few years ago - certain of Moondog's compositions were being used in automobile advertisements. (Couldn't find those on YouTube.)
Do yourself a favor. Listen to some Moondog.
Previous MM posts about classical music in television commercials:
Selling With Vivaldi "These four uses of Vivaldi are all pretty standard capitalist realism - art in the service of profit."
Advertising with Disney Hall "It would be a much better world if you were reminded of classical music each time you saw the bank's stagecoach, rather than being reminded of a bank each time you saw the concert stage."
In Which David Is Confused by The Second Coming "Does this, I wonder, sell shoes or religion?"
Who is Weiden & Kennedy Anyway "A dark story of crushing defeat as the home team loses by one point in the last second because an opponent is wearing better shoes. Life is like that, huh?"
Horned Tags: horned helmet. . . Viking helmet. . . opera. . . J G Wentworth. . . Moondog