NYC’s most venerable (or annoying?) TV commercial


Make text smaller Make text larger





You bet, I was disappointed by the end of the Yankees’ loss to Toronto on Sept. 15. The Blue Jays, whom the Yankees had beaten 13 of 17 games this year up til then, had led the good guys, 8-1, after six innings. The Bronx Bombers lived up to their nickname by hitting three home runs, including a grand slam, in their half of the seventh inning. But the Yankees ran out of gas and dropped an exciting 8-7 contest.

Adding insult to insult, immediately after the Yankees made their final out, the 212-666-6666 commercial for Carmel cars came on the tube. It is noteworthy because, for my two cents, this is the most venerable and annoying (and, OK, catchy) jingle around. And it has been around for quite some time.

I first heard this commercial in 1999. I cringed at it in the 20th century and I’m shuddering now.

I’m partially kidding, of course. Who among us shouldn’t respect the staying power of a commercial that has aired over two centuries and lasted for nearly two decades?

You know the one. A bunch of cheerful men and women sing 666-6666 as a young woman is escorted to her (Carmel) car. Can you think of any TV spot that has aired for this long, without changing a note? I can’t.

How venerable is it? The commercial has encompassed four presidential administrations. It aired before Y2K (remember that fuss?). Eli Manning was playing high school football at the time. Mike Bloomberg was still contemplating a run at City Hall. Rudy Giuliani was the mayor of New York — and he was contemplating running for a third term. The unimaginable horror of 9/11 was two years away.

In a delicious irony, a telephone number we New Yorkers take for granted has achieved international notoriety. According to a UK website, the mobile phone number of 666-6666 was auctioned for charity and became the world’s most expensive phone number.

When you think about it, it’s also heartwarming that this song is still with us. For me, the first time I heard it was two jobs ago and I can mark the passage of time by thinking about that jingle.

When the excellent film “American Graffiti” came out in 1973, the marketing copy asked, “Where were you in ’62?” It was a smart way for the movie’s producers to cast the audience back at the period when the flick takes place.

Bob Dylan once said, “Nostalgia is death.” He has a point. People shouldn’t live in the past, whether you’re reflecting on good or bad times. It can be debilitating. But I don’t see anything wrong with looking back on this commercial.

The ad can evoke lots of feelings because it covers such a swath of time. I do cringe when I see it come on my TV screen. But I also nod in admiration that the same song can last for all of these years.





Make text smaller Make text larger

Comments



MUST READ NEWS

The shop that saved kittens
After 54 years and a celebrated track record for animal rescue work, Petland Discounts is expected to close all its stores and face a possible sale or liquidation by April
Read more »
Image

Déjà vu on the West Side
Gale Brewer was first elected to the City Council in 2001 and moved up to borough president 12 years later. As the term limits clock ticks, friends and supporters say, she is now...
Read more »
Image

NYPD to bolster sex crimes unit
As reported rapes increase, the department to add investigators in Special Victims Division
Read more »
Image



VIDEOS



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Neighborhood Newsletters





MOST READ

Local News
Embrace the spirit of Parkland
  • Feb 14, 2019
Local News
Is it really just nervous stomach?
  • Feb 14, 2019
Local News
Blood, snakes and square knots
  • Feb 12, 2019
Local News
The shop that saved kittens
  • Feb 12, 2019
City Arts News
Old masters in a new light
  • Feb 12, 2019

MOST COMMENTED