I like to think that I’ve developed a somewhat significant immunity to television advertising. With the notable exceptions of the local Fuccillo car dealership ads (which are ubiquitous, and have, of late, ripped off Bob Dylan, for crying out loud) and most VW advertising (which I love), I tend to hit the mute button and let commercials slide by me.
The extent to which I am utterly mortified by the latest Heineken ads, however, obviates the claim above. I hate this commercial from the very depths of my soul. Seen it yet? Here it is, courtesy of YouTube:
Delightful, no? Odd, alien woman in futuristic bloomers is full of beer and ready to serve! And she replicates herself! What more could someone ask for? Clearly, it’s not necessary to explain the deeply screwy message behind this ad. [Although, if I were more up on my postmodern theory reading for the coming semester, I might have a word or two for Nancy Haraway and her high hopes for women as cyborgs.] What is striking, however, is the running commentary on YouTube. Of the 31 comments currently posted, 26 are about the song. The song?! The song?!?! The song which is all about the beer?!
I think that I’ve heretofore downplayed the importance of music in commercials. I should have paid more attention when Moby made his career by selling his songs to ad agencies, or when Sting resurrected his via a Jaguar ad. Better yet, I should have taken note when iTunes had a special section devoted to purchase of the songs from their tv ads. If networks are formed and utilized in large measure to name and locate tracks rather than assess images, I wonder whether we are in a moment when aural appeal has begun to eclipse the visual. If only they’d make a visual mute button for my tv…