Friday, September 24, 2004

THAT JUICY FRUIT AD: One of the more long-running areas of interest we've talked about around here is the art form of television commercials. We--I take the standard libertarianism-applied-to-culture view that commercials are tiny, legit narratives that often take more chances than big budget Hollywood pictures. Or maybe this is the Pagliaist view--I can't remember if I got it from her or from Reason. Anyway.

So this is the way we look at commericals around here and we have this Juicy Fruit ad. Apparently they've coated Juicy Fruit with a sugar coating and put under plastic and foil, a packaing style that used to reserved for things like Clorets. They're pushing it with this ad:

Scene: A pool. "Realistic" lighting if you know what I mean, nothing gleaming or polished and made-for-tv. "Realistic" people, too; no unnaturally satisfied looks on their faces as in every McDonald's ad.

It's CPR training day at the pool. This one sullen kid--white, male, longish straggly blakc hair--gets called forward to the CPR. He's chewing Juicy Fruit, but it doesn't make him look happy to be blowing in the training dummy's mouth. The dummy is male, and this is no important than any other detail in this ad. It's the overall weirdness of it.

So he's breathing in with his Juicy Fruit-spiked breath and the dummy comes to life. He stumbles to life and stumbles out of the pool to the shock of the onlookers. The kid at some point gets out, "He's got my Juicy Fruit." And the next shot is of the dummy hiding in the hallway from the kid. He has the product in his hand at that point, the package, but I didn't see when or where he got it. The subtext is, he has stolen ABC Juicy Fruit from the kid's very mouth. If this is not what happened--if the kid tossed his gum out and I keep missing it--I apologize.

Did I mention the dummy hits the door on the way out and his arm falls off? That happens too.

The dummy runs out the front of the high school, goes out of sight behind some bushes and a wall or something, and emerges back into view riding a bike. Being one-armed and a dummy, his driving skills are limited and he runs right into a parked car (a tiny older Ford Escort sort of thing; its alarm goes off) and falling to the ground. At this point the kid tracks the dummy down, and pulls his other arm off while wresting his Juicy Fruit back. A look of annoyance crosses his features as he drops the arm and turns away.

The setting is one of suburban squalor. Juicy Fruit does not remove the squalor, but it does make it more livable, apparently, as the kid will fight to get it back. Juicy Fruit is also capable of bestowing a transient life upon a dummy, but cannot make the dummy physically more stable (i.e., his arms fall off) or make him more coordinated or anything but a dummy.

So buy Juicy Fruit. I have no theory about the gum-swapping. It's a weird little narrative.

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