Alouette je te Plumerai

I’m sure everyone has seen the new Target television spot “Color Changes Everything” that includes that catchy little French tune “Allouette.“ I first heard this song when I was in pre-school. When I first saw this commercial, I wondered, why did they choose this song?

I find it necessary to describe what the ad exemplifies so that everyone is on the same page. A hot air balloon draws closer to the middle of a city backdrop. The city is seemingly grey which contrasts with the bright colored red balloon approaching. This automatically draws your eye to the color. Out of the hot air balloon, springs brightly and vividly dressed individuals performing acrobatic tricks to move about the city. Everything and everyone they touch turns to color, completely changing the dull world they live in for the better. Throughout this fun and entertaining clip, the song “allouette” is playing.

At first I just looked at the connection superficially and thought that they choose a song in a different language to show that they are sophisticated and worldly, to coordinate with their target audience; an audience that wants more than just a product. This was not something Wal-Mart, one of Target’s biggest competitors, would do. It just wouldn’t work. This could definitely be one of the reasons for choosing this French/Canadian song.  Or what if they just found that this song worked with the tone they wanted to present. This also could have been a contributing factor.

Although these conclusions could be correct, I needed to go deeper and find out what the song really meant. Target marketing executives would not just use this song on a whim; there is so much research involved in creating these commercials. Everything is scrutinized.

I found that the song actually had multiple layers of meaning, and when joined with the video could relay a strong message. The song when spoken in English means “Lark, nice lark. Lark, I shall pluck you.” Surprising right? In Europe, people would think Larks as pesky birds that woke them up when they least expected. This was the reasoning behind the “plucking.” This could indicate a meaning for the video as a wake up call. Where is the color world? Time to wake up and realize that you need to go to Target to get some color in your life.

Another interesting find is that this song usually involves audience participation, with the audience echoing every line of each verse after the verse’s second line. It is considered a community song. Each verse builds on top of the previous verses, similar to the Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Everyone knows that one. The people that excitedly spring out of the hot air balloon run through the city creating color. They intend on building color in that community. Target as a brand is very reliable and intertwined into the community. Just like the song builds on itself, the people form the ad build color and move throughout the city, until it is time to go unto the next city, where they will build color yet again.

This may be a stretch but makes for an interesting perspective. The Target “Color Changes Everything” commercial is one of my favorite commercials thus far this year and I have definitely gone to Target because of it.


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