It’s hard to listen to A Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran (So Far Away)” without feeling some hint of superiority. The song is arguably good, a perfect entry in the time period’s myriad synth-pop hits. But because of the band’s lead singer and his particularly styled coif, the band became an easy punch line, emblematic of the over-the-top 1980s culture.
That may have been the thinking behind using the five-minute song as the soundtrack for the beautifully done mashup below of commercials from that time.
Instead of being an easy joke, the song helps elevate the mashup from that of an Internet treasure trove to, as one commenter notes, a time machine showcasing the power of commercials. It’s easy to deride advertising for everything it represents with regard to consumerism and capitalism while forgetting the art behind each message.
Here, the variety of spots—from Kellogg’s to L’Oréal to Duracell—conveys not only the variety of narratives and mediums at which agencies and brands excel, but also how easily these campaigns can represent the culture and climate of the time period. And of course, to examine ’80s culture is to look at greed, excess and the casual materialism of the time.
In any case, it’s delightful to see old-school taglines, like this one for Vaseline (the “Wonder Jelly”): “Let it work wonders for you.”