Back in the old days we used to call this a ‘record player.’

Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether television commercials targeting a certain age group want that group to relive their glory days or to just make those of that age gloomy over being so damned old.

Prompting my thoughts about this was a 70s-theme party I attended this weekend as well as hearing a TV commercial this morning.

The party was fun even though a lot of the music played was disco including the dreaded “Disco Duck.” I even danced, which had the friend with whom I attended the party wondering if hell had actually frozen over since she had never seen me dance in the almost four years we’ve known each other. (I imagine once she saw me dance she realized why I don’t do it but once every score or so).

As for the TV commercial this morning, it featured the music of Iron Butterfly’s classic “In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida” as well as a psychedelic scene. Curiously, the ad was for financial services for Fidelity Investments. That company has also used for background music KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Shake Your Booty” as well as “Changes” by David Bowie. Just as an aside, I don’t think that in my wildest visions could I ever picture my placing those two songs in the same sentence. But I just did.

Of course, it is sometimes difficult to judge the age group a company is looking for when they use songs from the 60s or 70s in their ads. Electric Light Orchestra’s catchy “Mr. Blue Sky” has been used for a number of commercials and movie trailers including an ad in 2004 for the VW Beetle. I don’t know, maybe Volkswagen thinks people in their 60s want to relive their youth in a new version of the Beetle. I wouldn’t think so but that’s why I am not in advertising because I don’t know these things. By the way, you can dive off into the depths of commercial theme music at a Web site called “What’s That Called.”

As I said, I don’t know what ideas bounce around in the heads of advertising geniuses. But I would think it could be a risky proposition using music that recalls when one was shaking it on the disco floor or taking a bong hit in the back of a van. The memories recalled could be pleasant ones or they could just make you feel like you are a relic.

This all doesn’t matter to me because older songs generally bring me a positive feeling. There are exceptions, of course, such as whether I have heard them every day of my life on the radio such as “Stairway to Heaven.” It’s funny. That is one song I haven’t heard as a commercial theme song lately, if ever. Maybe those ad types know what they’re doing after all.

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