Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mad Men Is An Apt Descriptor

Mad may not be the right word, but perhaps daft, silly, or full of hubris might better describe the advertising gurus who thought of the two ads shown below.

Below is LeBron James's follow-up to his romantic-comedy act from July wherein he entertained various suitors for seven days (after keeping them guessing for the previous two years) and then obnoxiously announced his Decision via a television special. In this new video, James seems to acknowledge that he angered his fans, and provocatively climbs aboard a literal bulldozer to represent what he did to their feelings last summer. So after James inappropriately and narcissistically drew attention to himself four months ago, he... does exactly the same thing, without even apologizing for the earlier behavior!

Then there is the new set of Adidas ads featuring actor Ken Jeong wearing a gold costume and calling himself "Slim Chin". We are led to believe, in some ironic sleight, that Slim's apparent riches are derived from his unusual fast-ness. Meanwhile, Derrick Rose reveals himself to be far faster than Slim, showing that shoes, in this ironic universe, can top natural talent.

This is fine as far as it goes, and defenders of the ad might say that everything is tongue-in-cheek, and Jeong's Hollywood reputation is sufficiently established that we can laugh with him, rather than at him. Still, Jeong's ken (pun intended) seems to extend only to roles in which he acts silly and mincing while emphasizing his exotically Asian bloodline. Recall his naked turn in The Hangover. I doubt that enough viewers of this new Adidas ad "get it" to render his minstrelsy innocuous.

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