Throughout history, we have been drawn to the great love stories, both triumphant and tragic. We cheered when Odysseus was finally reunited with Penelope and we cried when Romeo and Juliet met their fateful (though, I would argue, avoidable) ends. Yet none of those compare to the epic saga of the two lovers in a Wind Song commercial from the early 1990s.
Wind Song is an inexpensive perfume produced by Prince Matchabelli, which has been around since 1926 when its founder, Norina Machabelli fled the Soviet Union for the United States. It began making Wind Song in 1953 and the perfume has been available at drugstore counters ever since. I personally have never smelled it, so I will post the description provided by FragarenceX, where a bottle is currently on sale for $15.70:
A unique woody perfume, Wind Song was released in 1953 and has been enchanting consumers with its bright combination of flowers and spice ever since. The top notes include coriander, tarragon, orange leaf, and neroli, with gentle hints of mandarin, bergamot, and lemon. The heart opens with a flush of carnation and cloves, gently spreading to reveal touches of rose, ylang ylang, orris root, jasmine, and rosewood. The base slips in softly with the poignant scents of sandalwood and cedar, along with the faintest hints of vetiver, musk, benzoin, and amber. This refreshing fragrance is lovely for a day out in the spring or summer.
If I personally have smelled it, I don’t think I would know, which is not a knock against the perfume and more a testament to my inability to distinguish any one perfume from another (except maybe Axe Body Spray, but that’s because I teach high school). But I certainly remember the commercials that ran in the 1980s and 1990s and the famous jingle, “I can’t seem to forget you. Your Wind Song stays on my mind.”
There were a number of variants of this commercial over the years, but they more or less had the same premise. A woman wearing Wind Song perfume sprays a little bit on a letter or note and sends it a guy. He opens it, smells it, and … well, “I can’t seem to forget you. Your Wind Song stays on my mind.”
I’d imagine that if you aren’t familiar with the commercials, this description could provide you with a mental picture that is either very romantic or very awful. Wind Song could remind the guy of his lover, it could cause a terrible allergic reaction, it could trigger a PTSD flashback, or it could result in something much worse. For instance, in one of the commercials that ran during the 1980s, the woman spots her lover in a restaurant with a bunch of business colleagues and has a waiter send the note. It’s meant to be a reminder of romance, but it could also be the framing device for a flashback in a Skinemax movie, or the note could also read “I will not be ignored, DAN!”
Anyway, the commercial that I’m most familiar with, and which I mentioned briefly in my VHiStory episode, was from the 1990s and did not involve restaurants or possible Fatal Attraction scenarios.
It is a simple plot, but one for the ages. We have Rick, whose biceps strategically sweat while he shapes metal into various shapes. He is just going about his day in whatever dusty shop this is, one that is run by Old Man Weatherby (a guy who has been trying to get at those meddling kids for years). But then, the shaping of various metals must stop because the mail comes.
And yes, the Maguffin has arrived. It’s so important, in fact, that we get an artfully done special effect that even George Lucas is envious of with the letter flying toward him. What could be in this letter? Is it his electric bill? A notice that his metal shaping tools are being repossessed? Could he have finally gotten into Harvard?
No, it’s from Kate. She misses him and she sealed the letter with a kiss. I guess the perfume is strong enough to cut through all of the manly sweat and metal shaping smells, because Rick is definitely interested. He takes a big whiff of that letter and we cut to Kate aimlessly riding her bike on a bridge.
And she’s thinking: “Did I forget to turn off the coffee maker? I think I did. Wait, that’s not a big deal because it has an automatic shut-off. The house isn’t going to burn down. But did I lock the house? I’m pretty sure I locked the house. I remember getting my bike out of the garage, shutting the garage door, putting my keys in the … yes, I locked the house.”
Rick is so ready that he gets into his classic car and peels out of work. He probably didn’t even put his tools away and left everything a mess. Old Man Weatherby is going to be pissed. But who cares? Kate misses him, too, and that means someone’s gonna get lucky. He then reaches the bridge where he just happens to know where Kate is riding her bike, and is all: “Hey, baby.”
Kate: “Oh, it’s you.”
Seirously, that’s the expression. Like she’s the lady in Rupert Hine’s “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).”
Well, at first, anyway, because he eventually pulls over, they have this moment where he picks her up and swings her around and they kiss and then we end with the two of them standing on the bridge and kissing. Totally blocking traffic, by the way. What if someone else was commuting home and got stuck because of these two? That’s really rude.
The commercial ends with a shot of the box and a voice-over and I have to say that I have a number of unanswered questions. What kind of force is guiding that letter? Is it supernatural? I mean, Old Man Weatherby can’t have that good of a wrist, right? And what is Kate really like? Is she the good girl and Rick is the guy they can’t stand? And where exactly are these two living where he can work in shaping metal all day and afford a classic car while she can spend her days riding her bike aimlessly across bridges?
There’s some untapped fanfiction potential in this entire 30-second ad, if you ask me. I can see entire books being written on the moments that inspired her to send the flying letter. I can see erotica depicting the ten minutes that follow these thirty seconds. Maybe there’s a literary masterpiece detailing their suburban ennui years later. Or maybe a fantasy trilogy where he actually wants to escape but she has him under the spell of her Wind Song.
The possibilities are as endless and unforgettable as their love.