Sarah Vaughn’s “Make Yourself Comfortable” brings class to commercial


In an era of vehicle commercials that shout specifics and show not-to-be-tried-at-home stunts, Lincoln Navigator’s commercials unveiled as far back as February 2019, are quiet. That quiet is punctuated by Sarah Vaughn’s “Make Yourself Comfortable.”

The song’s lush, dreamy sound meshes well with the dark, rainy scene of the commercial. What will get some viewers’ attention more than the song, though, is the celebrity featured in the commercial. Tennis great, Serena Williams is in the driver seat. She and her sister, Venus, became well-known for their high-energy and winning playing. In contrast, audiences see the tennis player relaxed, drawing smiley faces in the condensation on the window. All the while, Vaughn sings.

The commercial takes an artful turn because the song moves from being a strictly romantic piece to being a moment of advice-giving. Then, as an example of successful marketing, the point is made – – if Williams can relax in this vehicle, so can you.

And, the song invites audiences to make themselves comfortable. Vaughn’s phrasing comes as easy as breath. Her sound is rich and feels as though it is being sung by several voices and those who pause to pay attention to the commercial will find themselves taken by the sight and sound of it.

There is a feel of “yesteryear” to the song, and for those who appreciate classic jazz, that is a selling point. Another nice touch is the camera’s panning to the vehicle’s stereo. There, the song and the singer are revealed.

“Make Yourself Comfortable” was released in 1954. Vaughn’s voice is at its mellifluous best. By listening to the song, audiences can hear why she has been the inspiration for generations of singers. Her phrasing, her style cannot be duplicated, but for so many up and coming jazz vocalists, Vaughn makes it a worthwhile challenge to try.

The juxtaposition between 1954 and 2019 also plays a role in the success of the commercial. And whether viewers decide to buy a Lincoln Navigator or not, the allure of “Make Yourself Comfortable” remains priceless and timeless.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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