Because they often amuse and fascinate me, here is the first in an occasional series on advertisements.
Verizon Music Phone
First, we see various people enjoying their Verizon music phones:
- An Asian chick with funky clothes shopping at a vintage clothing store starts dancing to a Nelly Furtado tune.
- A black couple, the male dark-skinned the female-light skinned [or possibly even white or light-skinned hispanic], are together in the park. He wants to know what she's dancing to, so she shares her headphones and they dance together.
- Three black women sitting in an outdoor cafe, all fairly light-skinned African-Americans. One, seated in the center with the other two facing her, holds her phone up so the others can hear what she's dancing to.
- A white guy walking down a busy street at night, listening to the same tune on his headphones. He is wearing jeans, an untucked light blue denim shirt, and a tie. He starts to break dance. (He does it well, but break dancing? And jeans with a tie?)
- An Asian dude, maybe Filipino or Pacific Islander, dances at an elevated train stop; his style is very muscular and tough.
- A dorky looking white guy sitting in his underwear in front of his computer. He's downloading music to his phone.
- A pretty but unassuming, even docile-looking, white girl copying songs to her phone from her cd player.
So we have the message of the Verizon music phone, one directed primarily toward white kids who wish to escape their whiteness and domesticity. If you buy it, you can be the girl who finds all the cool clothes, the girl with a cute, dark-skinned boyfriend who is also willing to listen to your music, or the girl who gets to be queen bee of all her good-looking friends, literally setting the tone for the pack. Or you can be one of those guys with the cool dancing skills that will make all the girls turn and look, even if you're sort of nerdy deep down. So although you're stuck in your boring white suburb, sitting alone in your room in your underwear, this phone will empower you to fulfill all of your social ambitions. Soon the world will not be able to deny your essential coolness. You'll even get to hang out with that hot Latina/Greek/Armenian chick whose got the guts to dance on cars whenever the urge takes her.
A plump, middle-aged man rushes into his car with a box of popcorn and asks his plump, middle-aged wife what he missed. She tells him he didn't miss much and he proceeds to munch down his popcorn. He is so loud that the begins to grow annoyed, but instead of shushing him she simply asks him, sweetly, to turn the volume up. He picks up a remote control and the movie becomes louder.
And so we see the point of the ad. The couple is not at a drive-in as we were led to suppose, but sitting in the driveway in their mid-sized convetible watching a high-definition television set up in their garage. It's an ad promoting the value of Comcast's HD package. By the end of the ad they're giggling and eating popcorn together.
Mrs. Occidentality thinks it was a lovely touch to have the wife simply ask her husband to turn the volume up. She resisted nagging her husband and found a solution that made them both happy: she got to hear the movie better, and he got to chomp on his popcorn.