For a couple of months now, I’ve been seeing the eBay “It” commercials- where people are using various “It” shaped items while The Monkeys’ Sleepy Jean plays. That song is one of those that gets in my head and stays there for days. It’s a good catchy tune, although I couldn’t figure out why they chose that song.

Recently, I was having drinks with some co-workers in a bar that had closed-captioning enabled on the televisions. When the eBay commercial came on, I was surprised to see a caption that read “(The Monkeys’ Sleepy Jean plays)”. Why would you close-caption the name of a song? Seems like useless information for people who cannot hear music. For whatever reason, I continued watching long enough to see the lyrics start to appear, and I suddenly understood why all of those commercials use that that song. The second line of the chorus:

“Oh what can it mean?”

Just a little nugget for your Friday afternoon.

Update: I just love the internets. Within 2 hours, I received a comment from accesibility consultant Joe Clark (no relation), addressing my question above. Read Joe’s comment, and then have a look at his site. I especially enjoyed reading why Joe is interested in captioning.

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2 Responses to “It”

  1. Joe Clark Says:

    If we hear it, we caption it<br/>

    We identify the song or at least caption the lyrics because we caption what we hear. We don’t go around making assumptions about what a deaf ( (or hearing) viewer will or will not understand. Besides, the caption worked for you, didn’t it? You knew exactly what the song was once identified.

  2. Jason Says:


    Thanks for the comment; you make a good point- the closed-captioning did convey alot of information to me. As someone who rarely uses closed captioning, it’s easy to overlook just how cool and useful it is.

    I’ve seen lyrics closed-captioned before; I’ve just never seen the artist/title information conveyed that way before. The idea “Why would you close-caption the name of a song?” was an immediate reaction, and occurred to me even before the lyrics appeared (the commercial features a fairly long instrumental intro before the singing commences).

    What was most interesting to me is how the different methods of communication affected me. I’ve seen that commercial (and I believe, several variations of it) many times, I know the song and lyrics, and sing along with it almost every time. And many times, I’ve wondered why eBay chose that song. However, it only took one time seeing the lyrics in closed caption for me to “get” the association.