Friday, February 19, 2010

I Don't Know Why They Made This Commercial

Well, maybe I do. But if I understand what's going on here it's depressing as hell.

It's a recent American Airlines commercial, with a tall basketball player named Milos and his scrappy little agent who seems to be relentlessly lying his ass off, all around the world: "Milos only wants to play for Dallas." "Milos really wants to play for Brussells." "Milos only wants to play for Buenos Ares." "Milos only wants to play for blabbity-blabbity." "Milos really wants to play for hamana hamana." "Milos only wants to play for yip yip yip." And so forth. It seems obvious that Milos is not very sought-after, but his agent relentlessly presents him to different teams as if he were. And then at the end a voice-over sonorously intones: "We know why you fly."

Why exactly does this agent fly? And more to the point, why does American Airlines think that its potential customers want to fly alongside people like him? Because they like compulsive liars? Because they, too, are salespeople who are desperately misrepresenting their wares all over the world? Is there a great fraternity of lying, hustling weasels out there, flying all over the world on American Airlines?

I'm afraid that there just may be. Maybe somebody at the ad agency said, "You know, we've being doing really well for a long time with these slick and completely unrealistic ads. All these ads about nothing, which just set a mood and flatter businesspeople, with a lot of slow-mo of very good-looking actors portraying businesspeople in great suits staring sagely into glorious sunsets from luxury-hotel balconies and earnestly shaking hands in luxurious boardrooms with urban skyline views and opening very expensive-looking briefcases and wearing hard-hats with the sleeves of their dress shirts rolled up while they point at blueprints and relaxing in huge first-class seats and so forth, without giving the viewer any hint of what they're really doing. But maybe all those down-the-heel desperate Willie Lomans out there peddling crap to each other -- you know: our actual target demographic -- would appreciate a commercial that shows them as they actually are, doing what they actually do: wearing desperate smiles and desperately lying for a living. Let's make it a sports agent, to jazz it up a little. We don't want to get too real, showing a lying office-goods salesman whose desperate smile is wearing thin after twenty lean years; that might be a little too depressing. I know: a short sports agent with a tall basketball player who can't even throw a paper wad into a conference-room wastebasket while the little agent is trying his best to BS some team's board of directors. Kinda real, but cute and funny."

We Know Why You Fly: Because BS And Fear Make the World Go Round.

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