Classical Music and TV Commercials



Television commercials normally use classical music in the same way they employ any kind of music—they magnify the sentiment of whatever is being sold.

Once in a while the music becomes an indispensable part of the ad. Often it’s a jingle, which is (more or less) a short, innocuous tune that, if catchy enough, is unforgettable.

There are commercials out there in which classical music or musicians take a central role in the sales pitch.

Here are three.

The first is a Japanese commercial for a new cell phone made from wood, the Touch Wood SH-08C.

Although it’s unclear as to what they’re selling until the very end, we are treated to beautiful nature scenes and a performance of an arrangement of J.S. Bach‘s chorale “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” BWV 140, for wooden xylophone played in an ingenious way.

I’ll let you discover the rest.


The second video is a Spanish car commercial for the Volkswagen Polo, featuring a sweet little car and a hunky bassoonist who gets the girl. Like the protagonist says at the beginning, “playing bassoon is cool.” (Click on the “cc” to see English subtitles.)


The final commercial is for Dortmund Concert Hall in Germany. In an effort to promote their season and generate more interest, the organization went into the milk-selling business.

They provided music (live and recorded) from the upcoming season to a local farm while cows were fed and milked, hoping to increase milk production.

And thus Dortmund Konzertmilch (“Dortmund Concert Milk”) was born.

Note that French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, a baroque specialist not heard in the commercial, was booked to be on hall’s season.


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