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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

New ads ring a (tacky) bell

There's a Ukrainian proverb that says a drop of kerosene spoils a barrel of honey.

With ads like this, ad agencies might as well dump in a tanker full of kerosene. What a way to ruin a beautiful song.

The TV spots are set to “Carol of the Bells,” a highly recognizable song with its haunting four-note melody, originally written as a Ukrainian folk “winter well-wishing” song. One shows a guy, on a hunt for an evergreen wreath, lost in the woods, then driving through a bad neighborhood and even to a shipping dock.

Adapted as a Christmas carol in the 1930s in the U.S., the original lyrics, “Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, throw cares away,” have been replaced in one Garmin ad with “Look, there’s a moose. Give me a noose. I’m lost again. Where’s Highway 10?”

This is so typical of a level of tackiness that is becoming all too common at ad agencies.

To hear it done properly, go here and click on "Shchedryk." When I was in high school at Sacred Heart Academy in Yorkton, SK, our Glee Club sang this English version. (I sang second soprano.) It was hard but worth the effort. For a bunch of kids, we did a great job of it!

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