Music from opera is often used in movie soundtracks – perhaps most famously in Fatal Attraction, the thriller in which Glenn Close’s Madama Butterfly-obsessed character stalks Michael Douglas’s character.
But can opera also sell cereal? Or a snack food? Advertising agencies think so.
They’ve been using opera in TV commercials since the Mad Men era. The Huffington Post wrote in 2012, “Whether delicate treats or a cold beer, you’ll find a wide range of products turn to opera when looking to appeal to the public.”
And the music from Rigoletto may be among the most often-heard refrains in TV advertising. The Duke’s “La donna e mobile” is a common go-to in the world of advertising.
“It has been used in a Super Bowl ad for Doritos, as a plug for Leggo’s tomato sauce and as the jingle in a Foamguys Scrubbing Bubbles commercial with an animated bubble singing some unlikely lyrics,” according to a 2012 story in the Herald-Tribune of Sarasota, Fla.
It’s also been used in a Groupon commercial, which should prove, once and for all, that opera is not an elite art form.
Everyday brands from Swiffer to Rice Krispies to Burger King have relied on opera to provide the music to market their products. Decades ago, advertisers discovered that inserting opera into a commercial “classes up” whatever is being marketed.
It all goes to show: We’re surrounded by opera music, whether we realize it or not. If you’ve ever loved the soaring music you’ve heard in a commercial, it’s likely it was borrowed from an opera. You should hear it in its entirety.
And without the distraction of an announcer hawking burgers or bathroom cleaner.