February 02, 2009

A bad ad to pay a lot of money for is an ad which compares old things to new things as if to say "these things are the same." That is to say, it holds classic things up to current, popular things, and equates them. That is to say, equates Bob Dylan to Will.I.Am, and numerous other spurious classic-to-modern-and-popular comparisons. Because the presumed message of your commercial is: weren't those old things cool, aren't these new things cool, and hopefully some of that residual coolness will get splashed onto your product. But really, all it will make people do is say, Jack Black is not John Belushi, and wow does modernity suck. And your product sucks for being an extension of these sucky modern times.

And the truth of it is, modernity doesn't suck. I'm sure all time periods, viewed from within, seemed tacky and lazy and bloated and inferior to what came before. I want to believe we have just as much bad and just as much good as any previous era. But it will take some time for us to really figure out who was the Bob Dylan of our day, or the John Belushi of our day, or any of that. You cannot accurately say so-and-so is the whatever of his day, if the day you're talking about is the same one that's on the calendar. That day needs to be years in the past.

I think we can all agree that Pepsi is not a great arbiter of historical analogies, and that the Bob Dylan, John Belushi, Frank Lloyd Wright, Christopher Columbus, Patti Smith, Pope John Paul II, and Mickey Mouse of our day is Lil Wayne.

(And I hope that the future goes so completely upside-down that in twenty years, they run a commercial like the one I'm describing, and Jack Black is compared to the first man to walk on Mars, as if to say, "The first man to walk on Mars is our generation's Jack Black." Because I would love to live through the series of completely gob-fucked events that would have to take place to make that equation a remotely logical thing.)

Posted by DC at February 2, 2009 01:54 AM
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