A month or so ago [during olympics] a television commercial aired, well many television commercials aired, but one in particular got a little more attention than others [sorry PETA, it’s not P&G’s work]. The first time I saw the spot my television was muted so I didn’t pay much attention. It would continue to run throughout the 2014 Winter Olympic games…I eventually got a chance to see it audio and all. The spot was a :60 piece for Cadillac’s new hybrid ELR via agency Rogue. Just last week amid an apparent barrage of outrage [neither Huffington Post nor Fox News count as anything more than a never ending soapbox-style counterpoint to anything that could ever be considered logical]. Aside from the fact that I tend take issue with both the extreme left and extreme right of anything, the sheer ignorance of both sides made take to the intarwebz.
*If for some reason you have not read Advertising Age’s article about this then I would encourage you to do so now…I’ll wait. If you have already read the article and for some reason have not seen the spot then here you go…
Are you done? Good. Hold your questions until the end please. Since we have an American theme going here, we’ll start from the left and work our way right.
Ah the Huffington Post, taking “news” and selectively spoon feeding it to the bleeding heart set since 2005. Their argument here is that the takeaway from this spot is that the American Dream is “to work as hard as possible, take 0 time off and buy expensive shit”. Here’s a few thoughts on this: do we know that this person is the only one working and bringing home any money in the family? His wife looked pretty buttoned up to me. Also, are we to assume that this person is slaving away at some desk job for a fat cat boss? I look at this dude, I see the determination of somebody who to quote the end of the spot “makes their own luck” and probably owns their own business and EMPLOYS OTHERS. Helping to grow the economy of whatever city we are to believe he lives in; in other words putting people back to work which is what America really needs. Sorry HuffPo, I’m not buying that one.
If you’ve gotten this far and are starting to develop a feeling that I’m a right, wing bible banging hawk of war then you can kiss my ass, then go read a book. Myopic points of view breed thought processes not unlike the one I just described. Let’s look at Fox Business’ view of this. To paraphrase, it is a “celebration of profit seeking, productivity, and material posessions”, I’ve got to meet this guy. Only somebody with those three things on his or her mind CONSTANTLY could garner that from a :60 commercial for a hybrid vehicle. I’ll bet he says the same thing when he sees a girl scout selling cookies in from of the Home Depot or a Lemonade Stand at the corner of his pristine suburban street. This is a pretty decent testament to how out of touch the right can seem. Let’s settle this - money does not buy happiness, money *can* buy peace of mind and peace of mind is a valuable commodity in our economic climate. Certain people feel that peace in different ways - walled up inside their castles, hunched over their favorite craft brew in that hip hole in the wall bar that nobody’s heard of [yet], 2-putting for birdie at that exclusive country club or behind the counter making the city’s sickest latté. Everybody wants to feel secure [don’t look at me, look at Maslow], but everybody has a different definition of comfort. Some are currently comfortable and some want to be more comfortable than they currently are, cool? Cool.
How should we view this ad? Quite honestly, If Obsidian wasn’t in the business of advertising then this one would have passed right by me. I would not have questioned it or it’s motives - here’s why: this advertisement is meant for a very specific person and just because it’s on television doesn’t mean that it’s targeted at you like some internet banner ad [i’m looking at you, entitled Millenial]. To call this a celebration of a material possessions is equally ridiculous, the character says it all, it’s just “stuff”. Are we as Americans wrong for valuing our individuality? No way. Some of us pierce our faces and some of us buy cars, and some of us start businesses. They’re all statements, and we’re free to make them, ALL OF THEM because we live in America. Fact is, we don’t know that this person is actually as rich as some of the arguments would have us believe or if he’s just leveraged to the hilt, underwater in his 40 year interest-only mortgage addicted to looking rich…does anyone remember 2008?
Here’s the takeaway - there is nothing wrong with working hard. I do it. Everyday [no, I do not drive a Cadillac]. The reason I work hard is because I want Obsidian to be the best, not “pretty good”. Is that egotistical? Not a chance. This is America founded on the idea that we had a better way of doing things than the Brits. That idea has lead to countless revolutions, many because the right person invested in the right idea…Yay Capitalism! Yes we have disagreements, but we’re allowed to - whether you live on the right, the left or in the middle one thing has not and will not change, this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.