Saturday, April 02, 2011

A theory on a radio commercial

I don't know if you've heard this commercial that I'm about to talk about, and I'm unable to find a transcript on the web, so I hope that you know which one I'm talking about.

This commercial is put out by Mountain Dew, and it features two spokespeople hyping two flavors of Diet Mountain Dew as they go head-to-head in a taste test. The female is rooting for the flavor of Supernova, and the male is rooting for the Voltage flavor.

This commercial irritates me to no end.

One reason is the female/male roles that are played upon. This meme has been tackled in more depth by better writers and deeper thinkers than me elsewhere, so I'll just quickly sum it up and go on to my other point.

The problem with these kinds of roles in commercials is that the female is invariably shown to be smarter and/or hipper than the male. Or, to put it another way, the male is shown to be clueless or bumbling, so much so that you really have to wonder how this stooge is able to get out among the general populace.

Is it too much to ask that both spokespeople are intelligent and knowledgeable? Is it so hard to have two positive roles for your spokespeople?

But there's a deeper issue here, one that I don't think I've ever seen before. And I don't know if this is intentional or not, although I think it most likely is intentional.

As I mentioned before, the female is a hip, smart role who advocates for the Supernova brand of Diet Mountain Dew, while the male advocates for the Voltage brand of Diet Mountain Dew. While the female talks intelligently about her brand, the male uses terms like "yak bak" and "twitter bomb", but obviously has no idea what they are or how they are used. He even sounds vaguely doltish, as if he has just walked into the spokesman's role.

Now this is an interesting dichotomy. Here we have a spokeswoman who is a positive for her brand, while we have a spokesman who is not. I think he is even a negative for his brand. Every time I hear this commercial, my only thought is that even if I was inclined to buy a Diet Mountain Dew, I would definitely not buy the Voltage brand. Who wants to be identified with an obvious dolt, a male bimbo?

Make no mistake about it, these roles are intentional. This commercial was not just quickly written and acted and just put out there. No, every word is examined before it is even put into the studio. Once it has been acted and produced, the ad is again examined in minute detail. Every second is examined, every inflection in the actors' voices are looked at in a critical manner. Nothing is left unexamined.

Like I said, this is something that I've never seen before. A spokesman who can only be seen as torpedoing his own brand at the expense of another brand. Now, I'm not saying that the male bimbo is intentionally doing this, but it is the net effect of his actions, and thus the commercial.

I think this is intentional on the part of Mountain Dew (Pepsico). The alternative is that the makers of the ad are so incompetent that they were unaware as to the effect that the ad has or how the ad would be viewed.

So the question is: why would Mountain Dew intentionally spike one of their own products, even if it was in favor for another of their products? I have a number of theories, but until more information is available, I'll keep those to myself.

Please bookmark!

1 comment:

  1. When the (British) wife first got here- Quiznos was running those ads with the two dessicated rats.

    She still refuses to eat there.
    I think it might be a case of those NYC ad agencies being too cutting edge for us bitter clinger to 'get".