“Have some sympathy, and some taste”

“Have some sympathy, and some taste” September 24, 2018

 

Mr. Keith Richards, with a guitar
The immortal (?) Keith Richards (Wikimedia Commons)
I saw the Rolling Stones in concert in 1965. Yes, I’m that old. But Keith Richards is even older.

 

I’m sometimes quite puzzled by certain television commercials.  Recently there was an ad — I can’t recall what it was for — that used a non-Beatles version of the old Beatles song “Getting Better.”  I think it changed the lyrics just a tiny bit, from

 

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better,
A little better all the time 

 

to something like

 

I have to admit it’s getting better.
It’s getting better all the time

 

The commercial is obviously intended to push whatever product the buyers of the ad are selling.  But does it really paint a positive picture?  Am I the only person in the audience who’s so old that the next line comes automatically, unbidden, irresistibly into my head?

 

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better,
A little better all the time.  (It can’t get no worse.)

 

Is that really the subliminal message that the designers of the advertisement want to be sending?

 

But what about this one that I’ve encountered even more recently:

 

Please allow me to introduce myself.  I’m a man of wealth and taste.
Been around for a long, long year, stole many a man’s soul to waste.

Pleased to meet you.  Hope you guess my name.
Come on!  Come on!  Come on!  What’s my name?  What’s my name?

 

https://www.thedrum.com/news/2018/06/06/acura-scores-its-rdx-campaign-with-double-shot-the-rolling-stones

 

It obviously takes as its musical theme an old Rolling Stones song, in a version apparently by Motörhead.  Here are the full lyrics to the original Stones song, which was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.  It’s called “Sympathy for the Devil”:

 

Please allow me to introduce myself.
I’m a man of wealth and taste.
I’ve been around for a long, long year,
Stole many a man’s soul to waste.
And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain.
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate.
Pleased to meet you.
Hope you guess my name.
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game.
I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change.
Killed the czar and his ministers;
Anastasia screamed in vain.
I rode a tank,
Held a general’s rank,
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank.
Pleased to meet you.
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah.
Ah, what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah.
I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made.
I shouted out
Who killed the Kennedys?
When after all
It was you and me.
Let me please introduce myself:
I’m a man of wealth and taste.
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached Bombay.
Pleased to meet you.
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah.
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby.
Pleased to meet you.
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah.
But what’s confusing you
Is just the nature of my game, mm yeah.
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints,
As heads is tails.
Just call me Lucifer,
‘Cause I’m in need of some restraint.
So if you meet me
Have some courtesy,
Have some sympathy, and some taste.
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, mm yeah.
Pleased to meet you.
Hope you guessed my name, mm yeah.
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, mm mean it, get down.
Oh yeah, get on down.
Oh yeah.
Oh yeah.
Tell me baby, what’s my name?
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name?
Tell me baby, what’s my name?
I tell you one time, you’re to blame.
Oh, right.
What’s my name?
Tell me, baby, what’s my name?
Tell me, sweetie, what’s my name?

 

I dunno.  Strangely, I’ve always rather liked the song.  It’s a catchy tune with a good beat, too.  But do the sponsors of that ad really want their audience to associate the Acura with the Bolsheviks’ murder of the family of Tsar Nicholas, with the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, with Satan, and with the crucifixion of Christ?

 

I’m not sure that I consider those really good things with which to link oneself in the public mind.  But then, maybe that’s why I’m not earning a huge salary as an advertising genius. (I also hate the ads for the Sonic fast food chain.  I never eat at Sonic.  And, so long as its current ad campaign continues, I probably never will.)

 

 

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