When commercials use classical music, the intent has usually been to add a touch of class. But an article in The Christian Science Monitor detects a shift: “These days, many advertisers look to classical music for its comedic potential,” as in the case of a current Nike commercial featuring Mozart’s Requiem as the soundtrack for the closing moments of a high school basketball game. “The gravity of Mozart’s music is, of course, absurdly out of scale with the events on the screen, and as a result the commercial becomes a spoof on the life-and-death struggle of a basketball game.” More broadly, in our extremely low-brow age, it stands to reason that many consumers will regard high-brow music as intrinsically ridiculous. Need we be surprised if commercials take advantage of that fact? Some aficionados of classic music will be appalled. But instead of hitting the mute button, as many people do when a commercial comes on, they can learn to make the screen go black and enjoy the musical interludes.
—Posted by Mark Dolliver