As I sit here watching the Super Bowl, I am forced to admit something I never thought I would. Car advertisements are creative forces of nature.
I have always hated car commercials, just ask my wife.
I pause car commercials all the time and complain about how they have nothing to do with the car, or how it didn’t convince me that their car would make that hot model want to hang out with me. Or how it actually offended me by trying to tell me…whatever. Sounds like something Mick Jagger would say, doesn’t it? (Am I showing my age? Reference (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones.)
But tonight, watching the Super Bowl, I saw a car commercial about a vampire accidentally killing other vampires, and one about a college student who mistakenly thought he was getting a car as a gift. There was one about racing a cheetah, one about surviving the end of the world (but only if you had the right truck), and one about a fat dog that wanted to chase a car (which Darth Vader did not think was funny).
Seriously. I was right. I have always been right. Car commercials are never about the car. Well, almost never.
There was a car doing its first kickflip, bungee jump,and skydive. A memory montage of Important lifetime moments that took place in the car.
And, get this, there was an It’s Half-Time America and Our Second Half is About to Begin rally speech about the economy! Did you see that one? Holy Crap Over The Top Clint Eastwood! Did you even realize this one was a car commercial?
The Inuit who traded in his dogsled for an SUV? A car that was so sexy the guy thinks it is a hot italian woman coming on to him? What??
Auto designers that were so arrogant they decided to go on to re-invent babies that don’t poop and are time-machines, rain that makes you thin, couches made out of women??? (men if you prefer) and the DMV into an ice cream shoppe?
Seinfeld will give you the soup Nazi, the last living munchkin, an alien, a boat, and zip-lines all over New York if you just let him cut in line to get the first car? The Sandman spills all of the sand on you and your best dream ever is about a car?
How about using the brakes and seatbelt for CPR? Or the car that was designed to handle the green hell race track (whatever that is…).
What the ….??? Did I miss any? Do you remember any of those? Why did I waste your time and mine listing them all?
Here is the big question… Do you remember any of the cars in the commercials? If I listed the brands and the commercials could you draw lines to the right match-ups?
I can’t. Not a one. And I was paying attention enough to list them here so I could preach about them. So sad. But I bet you do remember some of those commercials, don’t you? They were stories. Some of them good ones.
Look at what those poor writers had to face. Advertise a car in a new way! Prime Directive! Fail and lose your job!
What is there to say about a new car? What makes it different? Can they finally fly? Do they actually drive themselves this year? What else is there to say? How many times have you heard ‘Zero to Sixty in…’? How many have you seen driving around orange cones? In snow, rain, dark, animals in headlights…blah, blah, blah….
So my point, if there is one, is I hate car commercials. They have nothing to do with cars. Sometimes I don’t even realize they are advertising a car until the logo pops up a the end.
But, I have to admit, lately they are springing from the fount of creativity. Can’t come up with a new idea for a car commercial? Tell a story instead, and stick a car in it!
My real point is this: If these guys can keep coming up with new ideas for something as over-trodden as a car commercial, you can come up with an idea for a story, and that is the whole point of du jour Brain Know.
Also: Matthew Broderick’s Day Off? Sheer genius! I have no idea what car they were selling, but they had me at ‘He bought it!’