Super Monday morning: sometimes dinner is for breakfast – roasted chiles (Poblano, Anaheim, Jalapeños) and tomatillos make the base for a white bean chili verde, topped with a poached egg and sliced slow-rise bread.
Listening to the recap of missed chances and armchair quarterbacking following the Superbowl game, I am struck by the analysis of the ads run during the game and why some were considered successful in differing ways. The ad that struck me as most intriguing and creative, partly because of the beautiful portraits of real people and places, as well as the unhurried narrative, turned out to be an ad from Dodge. The narrator was the voice of Paul Harvey, a voice I should have immediately recognized as he is so much a voice of my childhood, being a child of the late fifties and sixties. It did not occur to me that it was him, since I knew he had passed away several years ago.
The media critics mostly agree about the ad, tho the first report I saw this morning (on the CBS morning program) dismissed it because ‘no-one who isn’t in their 50s or 60s knows who Paul Harvey is.’
My first response to the narrative (disregarding any religious or even conservative aspect) was how real the voice sounded, the message relevant. Like the first time you heard Hal Riney – though maybe not after the 4th or 5th ad with the same voiceover approach. Although I disagreed vehemently with the political ads that Riney created, and while I probably am never going to buy a Dodge Ram truck, I do appreciate the message and the real people. With real character and lines on their faces, and rugged hands that tell a tale of toil.
That stuck in my mind this morning – partly because I am in that dismissed demographic (those of us in our 50s and 60s). The fact that advertisers on network television and producers of blockbuster box office hits also dismiss my group stings, not only because some mornings I do feel my age, but also because I am not ready to be invisible or irrelevant. I may not be part of the target audience even though I probably make more consumer purchase decisions that should matter. I make political decisions. And I vote. As of a recent birthday, I found myself in a new demographic band, by no particular choice or change in behavior. I don’t like to think of myself or my friends as irrelevant. And by the way – nobody else does either.
So why is it OK to dismiss anyone over the age of 49? I might not be in the market for the latest video game, but I think there is still a role in the economy and politic that the creators of the ad recognize. A group still worthy of attention, though perhaps not to the pundit at the table with Charlie Rose this morning. Of course Charlie Rose’s appeal is not limited to those under 49.
Of course the much more beautifully produced video that ran yesterday is part of a great farm mythology that neatly avoids the issues of large agri-farms, subsidies, and use of land & resources. That is a completely different issue, and not one that gets this sort of well-funded production. That discussion doesn’t sell airtime or trucks even though it is much more important to the present and future. The Atlantic has one of the more nuanced pieces on this ad, addressing issues of race as well.
BTW, I am not even particularly grumpy this morning – just considering the process of discovery. I was curious about the voiceover – why had I not recognized that voice which kept me company every sick-day or snow day in a small town, when being home on a school day meant only the radio for entertainment, and having your temperature taken? Even today, I associate the unusual vocal signature of Paul Harvey on radio with having mumps, chicken pox or staying with my grandmother. I just didn’t expect to hear it. And un-peeling the layers of how this ad was analyzed, why it came to be used, remade with a high budget, I still can appreciate the amazing images of the fancy one, even though I know they were Photoshopped within an inch of their silver life!
note: the pundit does have a name after all, his name is Frank Luntz. Where I might agree with Luntz is re: godaddy ads – as a woman who choose with whom to do business, I choose to not do business with them because I am so annoyed by their ads. You see the whole segment here.
The nagging discomfort really stems from the fact that I am not ready to be dismissed, or regarded as leftovers 😉