Sounds familiar: The music of the 1980s is enjoying a resurgence in adverts


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The Independent Online

Remember the 1980s? You might not want to, even if you can. It was, after all, the era of fluffy leggings, tutus, poodle haircuts and unfeasibly clunky mobile phones. Neon pink was in vogue and so was Margaret Thatcher. The Iron Lady won every election that decade and her acquisitive message even trickled down into the music of the era, characterised by power ballads whose singers bellowed about “wanting it all”, right now.

You might think it was a decade to file away and forget, but the sounds of that era have come back to haunt us. Hits from the 1980s are big right now, and not just in retro-themed music clubs. Last year they provided the most popular soundtracks for adverts on TV, films and videos, with Queen out in front in terms of the total number of songs used in adverts and Bonnie Tyler in the lead in terms of the number of advertisers using one song, her “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.

It sounds like a total eclipse of good taste as well, or perhaps a completely misplaced nostalgia for an era of political and industrial strife. But part of the appeal of music from the 1980s probably lies in the ageing demographic of telly-watchers and film-goers, which has crept remorselessly upwards over the years.

As the young drift away from the “box”, it has been left to the sole charge of oldies for whom Bonnie Tyler and Freddie Mercury represent lost youth and temps perdu. Presumably that sigh of recognition also makes them want to buy more chocolate, washing up liquid, or whatever else happens to be appearing in front of them on screen.

Non-fans of the Eighties will just have to wait. In a few years, the average TV viewer or cinema-goer will associate youth and sexiness with the 1990s and advertisers will respond accordingly. Good news for Elton, Whitney and Bon Jovi fans, one supposes.