Yeah, Toyota May Be Having Those Accelerator Problems and All...

... but boy, am I a sucker for the TV ad campaign they're running nonstop now. Of course I love the "Romance of Flying" ad, below, featuring the melodic stylings of Percy Faith:

Yet if anything, the "Age of the Great Trains" ad is even more pleasing. While it doesn't have any airplanes, its backup music is a version of "Mr. Sandman" by the indie group and long-time YouTube favorite Pomplamoose, which I don't get tired of hearing. (Recent NPR interview with Pomplamoose here.) Half the airtime on Pomplamoose videos seems to feature the drummer / instrumentalist Jack Conte, who is very talented but is not really that great to watch. Fortunately the other half is of the singer Nataly Dawn, whose multi-frame shots on the screen usually show her singing all parts of a multi-track harmony at once, as below. (And Conte below her, so you see what I'm talking about. Before anyone points it out: yes, yes, I realize that if we produced music videos in my household, people would similarly be wishing that my wife got most of the airtime.)



Pomplamoose singing Mr. Sandman on YouTube here, from which the clip above is taken.  the "trains" ad, with them on backup, here and below.

The combination of a 50-year-old original recording (Percy) and a retro cover put out last year (Pomplamoose) works nicely, at least to my taste. Too obviously derivative of the Don Draper-era? I don't care. Sometimes I am skeptical of the power of ads to change my attitude toward a company -- I mean, except for wonderful display ads in high-end magazines and in their associated serious yet trendy high-end web sites. But these do a lot to change my attitude.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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