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Friday, February 18, 2011

Movies in Commercials

Use the Force
  • Use the Force

Everyone is gaga about the Volkswagon ad with the Darth Vader kid...well, almost everyone.

Basass Digest's Devin Faraci takes exception in this piece:

"Volkswagen isn’t selling you cars, it’s selling you the good feeling you got while watching the commercial. Don Draper would have been shitting his pants if he were watching that commercial; the whole point of the ad is to manipulate you into feeling good about something by crassly using two other things that make you feel good — in this case cute kids and your fond memories of Star Wars. By conflating Star Wars with the kid the commercial strips away any other connotations of the series (and by using Darth Vader it removes any connotations of the Prequel Trilogy almost completely); it’s aimed square at 30 and 40 somethings who grew up with the original Star Wars and see passing it on to their kids as a sacrament. And all of that feeling good just happens to rub off on the Volkswagon at the end."

While I don't agree 100% with his notion (to me it's all in the execution) I do share his sentiments that conflating nostalgia and fondness for a film to sell a product must be handled with care...lest you end up with either of these two examples, which I find terrible.

I'm not sure exactly which of these two commercials bothers me more—the blatant Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle knock-off that State Farm is running...

...or the use of clips from Singin' in the Rain to peddle a Volkswagon.

While H&K is just a cheap copy, the Singin' in the Rain clip uses the talent of Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor without their consent.

And that bothers me.

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