Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sub-Optima

This isn't some ridiculously terrible commercial or anything. It's just kind of a mess.



I suspect this is what happens when there are six ideas in the pitch meeting and they just decide to use them all. My prevailing thought about this ad is that the first piece of the plotline, which depicts a couple handcuffed to a cop's motorcycle as the cop drives away in their Kia Optima, would probably have been sufficient by itself for the entire ad. You start with the couple driving, cop pulls them over, cop looks the car over and is taken by it, cop has the couple step out of the car, then hops in and drives away. Gets the point across, doesn't make wild, random lurches between events in something that can only charitably be called a narrative, and is at least conceptually amusing.

But does this ad stop there? No. In fact, it doesn't even start until right at the end of that piece of the plot. Instead, we move on to a helicopter grabbing the car with a giant suction cup and flying out across the ocean to deliver the car to some rich guy on a yacht. (Apparently this takes place in an alternate dimension where there is only one Kia Optima in existence, because surely with a base MSRP of around $20k, dude could afford his own. Hell, hiring that helicopter and fitting it out with the suction gadget probably cost more than that.) But does the yacht get to the rich guy? No. Because - watch the ad, this actually happens - fucking Poseidon pops out of the ocean, knocks the helicopter away, and examines the car.

Okay. I say this a lot on here, perhaps too much, but it's too often applicable: I know this is supposed to be funny. Or something. But I just find it stupid and "lookit me!" What use does Poseidon have for a car that he's like 20 times larger than? Or at all? Maybe it's just going to be a present for his daughter's Sweet Sixteen - not to drive, mind you, because they live under the sea, but to add to her collection of human items. She can admire the car as it slowly rusts, all the while humming "Part of Your World" and combing her hair with a dinglehopper. Or maybe this is kind of retarded and could just as easily have been left out, except that Kia apparently really wanted to show off more of their mediocre CGI.

Then aliens zap the car away, but they lose it as well, as the car is pulled through some sort of wormhole and ends up in Mayan times, ready to be worshiped as some sort of god. Okay. How do the Mayans know what a car is? What are they going to do with it?

So in 60 seconds the car is possessed by six different entities (I'm including the couple at the beginning, who technically have already been dispossessed before the 60 seconds start). Doesn't this seem a little frantic? Am I the only one who finds it sort of distracting and muddled? You'd think the idea of an ad like this would be to focus on the car, but in sixty seconds it seems to me that only about seven of them - 0:05 to 0:08, when the cop is driving, and 0:37 to 0:41, when the alien is driving - really show the car doing anything besides being pulled from one place to the next. A 60-second car commercial and barely more than 10% of it actually shows the car in action? (It could be worse, of course.)

That might even be okay if there were anything particularly distinctive about the Kia Optima... but it's a mid-size sedan, a.k.a. the most conventional automotive category in existence. Virtually every car in that category looks at least 80% like all the others, and the Optima hardly looks like an exception. It's not a hybrid, it's not electric... the only thing we know about it is that everyone in this ad wants it, which is hardly a convincing argument. Shit, even that awful Cruze ad cited the car's MPG. The only thing we get at the end is the starting price (which is only if you want it in manual, by the way). I mean, for all I know there are lots of awesome things you can get with the Kia Optima - for six million bucks, plus whatever it cost to produce, is it too much to ask that this ad mention any of them? Or should I just be thankful that no more hamsters showed up?

2 comments:

dw said...

Megatons, for I think the first time ever, I disagree with you on this one. Although you're right that it does very little to sell the car, it was one of the few Super Bowl commercials to make me laugh out loud. I guess I found the escalating ridiculousness to be clever in a sense. After the aliens steal the car I wouldn't have thought there could be anything to top that, so I thought the Mayan thing was pretty funny, especially since it seemed to be making fun of the whole ancient-Mayans-had-supernatural-powers streak we have presently what with all the 2012 BS.

Anonymous said...

I side with W. Megatons. Ad after ad tries to be dazzling to the point of forgetting to tell us anything about the product.