Wednesday, April 1, 2009


While sitting in Grizzly Peak on Friday night, I caught this commercial on the TV across the way (not surprisingly, even if they give me blog fodder, I hate TVs in public spaces).

Anyway, I am working up some thoughts about the ad. In the meantime, I thought I'd share the link so you can take a look at it without (yet) being faced with my ramblings on its meaning(s).


biscodo said...

Well, pretty basic - it's an add that plays on basic emotions: fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, potential for salvation, and desire/lust.

#1: "my key doesn't work/I'm not in the right place" - fear of being lost.
#2: "my key doesn't work/someone stole my car" - fear of possessions being lost or stolen.
#3: "is THAT my car... over there?" - fear that the world is not as you remember it, doubting ones own thoughts, lack of control, uncertainty.
#4: "where am I? that's not my car! running down the ramp" - panic. fear of being lost. more loss of control.
#5: "garage full of identical vehicles" fear of conformity and loss/destruction of individual free thought, (see also: 1984, THX-1138, decades of tactics played up during the Cold War to portray communist countries as goose-stepping hive-mind automatons)
#6: "headlights/Q5 entrance" - scary music climaxes, a beastie (who by being different from the conformists is an enemy of enemies and thus a friend) lurking in the darkness awakens, strides through the sea of conformists, passes "you" (as the viewer is meant to identify with the woman lost in the sea of silver SUVs), and powers away, indifferent to "your" plight, because powerful self-assured beasts don't care whether you noticed or not.
#7: "unattainable want" - Q5 pulls away, you follow, it pulls away again, it passes others that are stopped, pulls away again. It is the leader, the Alpha. You want to identify with it.

(see also: Clinton campaign ad for additional example of "think different... just like us" pseudo-non-conformity marketing

I'm pretty sure that where you're going with this is to try to lead into the "woman alone in a parking garage/fear of being attacked" narrative, but I don't think it's there in the commercial. There's a lot going on in it, but not that. One can read the fear of attack into it the same way that one cloud can be seen either as a bunny or a dragon... but the difference is observer bias.

So then here's the question about the question about the "meaning" of the ad? (yes, a question about a question) Is your/my/someone's analysis of it an attempt to discern the intended message, or an attempt to drape a different meaning/message over that which is constructed to mean something else? More specifically - is it honest (intellectually/academically/"morally") to take the video, determine it's meaning, but then use it (out of context of that meaning) as an example of something one wants to be disapprovingly critical of, to serve a different agenda?

Dee said...

Wow, you thought way too much about that, dude. I never got past the hottie in patent leather pumps.

Dee said...

And by the way, the word verification is "poophol". I'm pondering the meaning of that.


Zoe the Wonder Dog said...


Can you explain more fully the “loss of control” that you mention? Control of what, exactly? And the panic… what is the source of that?

On the parking deck angle… do you really mean to suggest that your list of seven reactions/emotions are all viable, a but a read of the setting as significant, and particularly significant for a particular subset of the population (the subset featured in the ad) is categorically wrong/impossible? If I see a bunny and you see a dragon – and the difference is “observer bias” – shouldn’t we allow that both are viable interpretations and seek to understand what conditions our different readings of the “text” at hand?

Shannon said...

well, you certainly put an end to THAT, Geo! ;-) I see EXACTLY what you see...