I keep seeing this bizarre spot from US Cellular about battery swapping. Or at least I think it’s about battery swapping. To be honest, I get wierded out by the commercial so I never really pay attention to its message. Even as I write this I don’t actually know what this commercial is about. Yes, I could have studied the clip (I posted it after all) but I chose not to on purpose. Why? My ignorance is relevant to this discussion. I maintain the spot is so odd (and oddly boring) that I can’t (or won’t) discern what it’s about. I am made bored and uncomfortable by this commercial. An oxymoron I know. But that’s my reaction every time I see it.
A monosyllabic robot is playing jump rope with a strangely unresponsive child. As the robot turns the rope he delivers a message. Somewhere along the way the robot malfunctions…I think. The girl then stares at the robot with a look that can best be described as robotic. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure her catatonic reaction is unintentional. I honestly think the child simply can’t act or hasn’t been directed properly or both. I feel sorry for her. It’s all I remember from the commercial. See for yourself. It’s creepy.
Am I missing something? Is this TVC actually charming? Is the little girl cute? Is the robot cool? US Cellular is running the hell out of the spot so they must like it, right?
I’m not hating on this spot… per se. Hate seems too strong a word for this oddity. I don’t loathe it like I did “Saved by Zero” or, for that matter, the Progressive Insurance lady –both campaigns I punched around recently. Yet, with those campaigns at least I knew exactly what they were selling. Not so here.
What say you, Gentle Reader: Is this spot confusing and weird or am I just missing the point?
Less is more in advertising
If you thought the now-infamous Red House Furniture commercial was controversial and bizarre (it was) wait until you watch this little ditty from Argentina. It does to boy/girl what Red House did to black/white. I don’t want to play spoiler but this seemingly innocuous bank commercial takes a gender-bending turn that, frankly, is an absolute first in the annals of advertising. Take a look and then let’s come back for discussion.
Aye Carumba! Dude look like a lady! Or is it the other way around? It isn’t necessarily the topic that shocks us… but in a bank commercial? And what’s more remarkable is how perfectly straight (no pun intended) they play it. Produced with utter sincerity, it is identical to a Hallmark card commercial.
The plot is ripe with subtext! Who is Mr. Lopez – brother, former boss, best friend? What did he to the hero(ine) that required making an apology? And what about the gift he gives to her? A porcelain ballerina, it must be symbolic of something, perhaps little girl fantasies finally being realized?
The tagline attempts to make sense of it all: “Your life changes when your bank is disposed to change.” So, let’s see if we got this right. Banco Provincia is advertising its progressive policies with regard to lending by giving a loan to a transvestite. Conceding the bank’s corporate heart is in the right place, why on earth does a person’s sexual orientation or body type matter when providing a loan? As long as clients have collateral what’s the difference? Sure, banks are historically conservative but not to money. On the other hand, if the bank had given him/her a loan in order to have a sex change that would at least represent open-mindedness with regard to lending money. But in this spot the lady opens a hair salon.
I think this commercial is weird. I can’t imagine writing or approving it. Still, you have to give it points for chutzpa. In a macho nation like Argentina, it took “balls” to make a spot like this.
Note: Special thanks to Adpulp for finding this commercial.