Today's post offers two poems for the price of one. Both are in video format, for the poems have been adopted by companies in hopes of making their brand appeal to the hearts and minds of customers.
First, we have Charles Bukowski poem "The Laughing Heart" found in a Levi's commercial.
Second, we have Maya Angelou's "The Human Family" found in an iPhone commercial.
Using one or both of these poems, discuss these questions as a class:
What does the company seek to communicate about their brand using this poem? What associations do they want you, the audience, to make with Levis or Apple? What connotations are they developing for their brand?
What are your thoughts on using poetry for the purpose of advertising? Does it devalue the poem that someone besides the author is using it to make money? Or does it bring poetry, framed professionally with images and music, to a vast audience, making poetry more approachable?
It may be worth noting that both of these commercials were produced after the death of the poets who wrote the poems, so someone other than the original poet had to give permission to use the poem in this manner. If you were responsible for the copyright of a famous poet's work, what questions would you ask before granting permission to use the poet's work in a television commercial?
Brett Vogelsinger teaches freshman English students at Holicong Middle School in Doylestown, PA where he starts class with a poem each day. Follow his work on Twitter @theVogelman.