That Thing Got A Hemi?

Jason posts about television advertising, and the type of ads he hates. He also mentions the one ad that made a difference in his life. The VW ad that introduced him to the music of Nick Drake. This we have in common.

We also have in common a distaste for the ads that seem to pit us against one another. Husband against wife and child against parent. In addition to those Jason mentions I'll add the Dodge Hemi commercials. Pat, a couple of other friends and I had an e-mail exchange a while back about how much we hate these ads. You know the ones, where the wife likes the Durango because of the DVD player so she doesn't have to pay attention to her kid, and the husband loves the power of the hemi despite the fact he has absolutely no need for it, other than to compensate for what he must be lacking... They scoff at each other behind their backs while talking to their friends. If beer commercials attempt to make you think that beautiful women will fall all over you if you drink their beer, to whom is Dodge selling? People that hope for a loveless marriage? Or are they trying to appeal to those unhappy couples? Yes you too can find common ground in the Durango, it won't help, but it is common ground.

Then there are the J.C. Penny ads with the screaming-mess-making-kids, and the father trying his hardest to ignore them, asking "Where is your Mother?" Well, there is a sale on at J.C. Penny, she's a woman isn't she? This one actually offends me. It should offend everyone. Men can't take care of kids, women can't help but shop, the father is too lazy to try, the mother doesn't give a shit, she's going shopping.

I love great television commercials. Every year Krista and I go to the British Television Advertising Awards at the Walker Arts Center (it isn't the actual presentation of the awards, but they play all of the award winners), and there are still some really great ads being produced. Just not here. It has been a long time since there has been a commercial on American Television that I really liked. There used to be quite a few around the time of the Nick Drake/VW ad. I liked most of the VW ads of that time, and I also liked to Mitsubishi ads that followed. The Mitsubishi ads weren't quite as "deep" as the VW ads, but they had excellent production value, were visually pleasing, and featured some great music. One spot that left me feeling conflicted was the H2 ad that used "Happy Jack" by The Who. There may not be a product that I hate more than the Hummer H2, but I was drawn to the ad. A friend of mine thought that the ad betrayed the spirit of the song, because the H2 is a huge status symbol. It is the car that everyone is supposed to want. This is one of the reasons that I hate the H2, but in the ad it isn't portrayed that way. The "Happy Jack" kid finds his own way to win the race. While this doesn't totally jive with the song (Happy Jack was always happy, no matter what other people did to or thought of him) it isn't a bad message. The problem is that the spirit of the ad doesn't jive with the reality of the H2 either. But the ad is really well done. The song and the story don't quite match, and they they miss the reality what they are selling, but it is well done, I love the song, and I like the spirit of the story of the ad. What can I do.

No comments: