It’s been a “good” month for people you like whoring themselves out for a product you couldn’t care less about. First, there was Skeet Ulrich, I mean, Stephen Dorff discussing the many benefits of the “cig-style e-cig,” and more recently, Brad Pitt shattered the unintentional comedy scale with his ad for Chanel No. 5. It hit every criteria for a terrible celebrity endorsement commercial: shot in black and white, gibberish dialogue, actor not looking into the camera, and the message has NOTHING to do with the product we’re supposed to want to buy.
Both Dorff and Pitt’s capital-a ACTING joins the long line of overly and painfully earnest commercials with famous people (oh, hey, Al Pacino), a group that also contains the following 10 ads.
“Since childhood, I have been fascinated by the invisible world.” Oh boy. It takes about 30 seconds into this EIGHT MINUTE LONG promotional video, also known as a I-wish-I-was-killing-myself-with-whiskey-instead commercial, to know whether Dan Aykroyd’s seriously promoting vodka in a skull-shaped bottle, or whether it’s just an elaborate spoof. Around the time a picture of a ghost pops up onscreen and Aykroyd says, “…the implicit potential indestructibility of the soul must concern us,” you know for sure that, yup, totally real. The only thing Aykroyd, who once used his newsman voice to parody the kind of person he’s become, cares about half as much as he does his vodka is convincing the world that aliens are hella pissed at us because of 9/11. Pretty sure they’re just upset because they don’t want Ghostbusters III, either.
To be fair, in 1965, when Bob Dylan was asked what product he’d sell out, he responded, “Ladies undergarments.” His 2004 Victoria’s Secret ad was just a practical joke, four decades in the making. Gotta respect that. But while he may have smirked and stumbled through the commercial like a homeless man looking for the bathroom in a museum, Victoria’s Secret tried WAY too hard to associate bras and panties (hehe!) with a song that begins, “I’m walkin’ through streets that are dead,” from an album that largely deals with, to quote a song title, “trying to get to Heaven.” Haha, Bob, you’re Jewish. If this had come out now, the tweets would be unbearable. #sellout #boobsonthetracks #tobramona
All I know about space I learned from Red Bull and Critters 4, so forgive my ignorance, but: wouldn’t wearing jeans on a spaceship be a terrible idea, especially with a pretty lady nearby? (Note to self: write a movie called Space Boner.) Or at least as bad an idea as bringing an ABA ball with you. The soundtrack, however, was a great choice. It screams “mid-1990s gay rave,” which I’m pretty sure is the plot of Death Race.
If you’ll allow me a brief Jay Leno-like aside: Did you hear about this? Some commercials are being referred to as “mini-movies” now. Yup, yup, it’s true. Next thing you know, McDonald’s will start calling itself a restaurant. (I can’t verify if that’s the joke Leno used during his monologue when this ad came out, but I’m going to assume: yes.) It was an inspired casting decision on Chanel’s part: Nicole Kidman, referred to as “the world’s most famous woman,” does scream “pretentious perfume commercial that somehow cost $42 million.” Yup, $42 million:
No. 5 The Film (2004) is a 180-second long short film directed by Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!) and starring Nicole Kidman and Rodrigo Santoro. It is part of a new breed of advertising crossover films known as branded content. It had a budget of $42 million, which was financed exclusively by Chanel. Though visually captivating, the film is essentially an extended television commercial for Chanel No. 5 perfume. Nicole Kidman was given $12 million for being in the commercial. ( )
Eh, I preferred No. 4 The Film. No one obnoxiously walks up steps in slow motion like Sarah Jessica Parker.
Sylvester Stallone talks nearly continuously in this commercial, yet says NOTHING. “Pleasure and pain, they’re not opposites. They’re neighbors, separated by a thin line” could just as easily have been, “Poop and pee, they’re not opposites. They’re neighbors, separated by a meaningless two holes,” and it would have been as effective. The commercial’s all atmosphere, BAM noises, and spit, anyways, the way your mom likes it.
For something completely different, here’s Sly talking about pens:
Oh, Peggy. Peggy, Peggy, Peggy. She sounds, with a voice reminiscent of an ashamed chain-smoker trying to discreetly purchase condoms with her cereal at the grocery store, like a teenager (or Mark Wahlberg) discussing social and political issues that they don’t quite understand, but know are wrong. “Migraines, they’re, like, for real and stuff. And totally NOT COOL. It’s, like, why you gotta do that migraines?”
This is a different kind of earnest than what we’ve covered so far. This is the kind of sincerity you see from an actor who knows he can’t pass over any role he’s given (Jason Alexander filmed this in 1985, four years before Seinfeld premiered) so he’s going to give all he’s got to every gig he books, even if it means coming across like an overeager motivational speaker singing about McDLTs. HOT HOT.
It’s still not as bad as his Nickelback video, though.
Actually, this is perfect. We should start calling U2 “smartphone rock” from now on. It’s very befitting of them. The only people who like U2 as hard as U2 likes Blackberry’s, apparently, are the kind of assholes who pay $200 to see Bono live, yet spend the entirety of the show checking their email, until the moment when the group begins playing “Beautiful Day.” Then once the song’s over, they’ll go back to their phone, searching for clips of the Patriots vs. Rams post-9/11 Super Bowl. Bono and Tom Brady saved America, don’t you know?
“Yeah, hey, um, Chuck, we’re going to need you to burn these trees and tear down these huts to make room for Miss Jolie. What’s that? Fine. Tell those Cambodian assholes we’ll share some of our sandwich scraps. I don’t have time for this crap. These monkeys ain’t gonna murder themselves.”
The earnestness isn’t overwhelming, but the strained sentimentality is flowing, which is to say: I wanted to include at least one ad featuring an old man petting a dog. That’s the commercial world’s way of telling you, “This guy, he’s just a regular chip off the block…and he f*cking hates those queer vegetables, too.” Heh, beef council.