The effects of this commercial

February 4, 2012

First, take a look at the commercial.

This is a highlight reel for hundreds of man-hours of work.  Of course, if we think about it, there is much work that needs to be done just to make the commercial, but most of the time we give it no thought.  That’s fine, but seeing commercials like this repeatedly and never thinking about the behind the scenes seems to have a profound effect on the way we want to take in the world.

We do not like sustained argumentation–we want brief summaries of information which makes us feel a certain way.  We do not want to think about what it takes to get from point A to point B, we only want to see the highlights of the trip.  We have been conditioned to not think fully but to rapidly taste and spit out information.  Bullet points are kings.

This is neither here nor there.  On one hand, there are times and places where you should not be concerned about the process.  When I’m riding a bicycle, whatever is happening beneath the skin and to the steel frame makes no practical difference.  On the other hand, being conscious of the process is important in many instances.  Knowing why your Big Mac takes less than two minutes to make is nice information to have if you are concerned about health, treatment of animals, or culture in general.  There are times when knowledge of the process would benefit us greatly.

Another point to be made is that this commercial is effective without making a statement about anything relevant.  What was demonstrated was that the car can whip around quickly enough on ice to flick a hockey puck towards a net.  If you are a talented stunt driver, you might be able to score.  Overall, the traction on pure ice was good, but this is completely irrelevant to real-life situations.  How many people drive on pure ice?  How often do they drive at less than 20 mph on slick roads?  How would the car respond if it was fitted with cheaper “all-season” tires?  The commercial did not speak to that. Goodyear could have used that exact same commercial and the commercial would say more for Goodyear than it would for Alfa Romeo.

That’s a pretty sweet trick.  But what isn’t explicit is more important than what is.

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