When I was a teenager, over the course of about a week, three different companies starting building self-storage facilities along the same block. It was as if, unbeknownst to each other, they all bought the same consumer research poll that indicated my neighborhood was full of people with too much stuff willing to pay for storage.
Lately, I’ve been overcome with the feeling that ad agencies have done the exact same thing. Except, instead of building vast mazes of padlocked cubes, they’re all shooting television spots featuring kids. More, specifically, television spots featuring kids acting like adults. I’ve talked before about the sales potential of harnessing adorable, but these kids are anything but. They’re actually kind of, well… jerks.
These two smug little bastards are pushing the Amazon Fire Phone. This is actually the least annoying of their ads, so thank your lucky stars I couldn’t find the one where the child-man is speculatively buying real estate investments as the child-woman glares at you in haughty judgement. Even without watching the entire commercial, their hats make it clear from the start that I will hate them.
While the ad is meant to show off the features of the phone, all it really does for me is demonstrate how we as humans are quickly losing our ability to socially interact with other humans. These two are sitting at a table, together, facing each other, and the only conversation they have is telling each other a list of things they’ll be doing individually on their phones. Also, that is a soft boiled egg. Its consumption is time dependent. Put down your damn phone and eat your damn egg before it congeals.
This kid gets a solid ranking on the adorable scale, but rather than working with that, Subaru decided to turn his dream sequence into a nightmare sequence. He only gets a few frames of looking cool for his friends before he’s making a bleary-eyed carpool run, battling with a meter reader, scraping groceries off the asphalt, and waiting in traffic for the rhythmic swish-swish of his wiper blades to slowly drive him insane.
The intention of the commercial is to tell you that while this kid isn’t quite ready yet for car ownership, the car will be durable enough for him to drive when he is old enough. The problem with their approach is that, by the end of the ad, I’m no longer thinking about the car. I’m thinking about how underwhelming adulthood is. I’m thinking about the cramp I got in my calf yesterday while pressing the brake on and off during rush hour traffic. I’m thinking about curling up in a ball and softly crying myself to sleep. Congratulations, Subaru, you’ve plunged me headfirst into an existential crisis.
Much like Amazon, Comcast wants to you to equate their product with young, successful, entrepreneurs. They want you to see how Xfinity is so awesome that you won’t notice any disruption in service when your kid invites over the entire block to mooch off the internet that you pay for in order to build a very vaguely-worded “tech start-up” in your garage. Judging by all the gear, he likely also swiped your credit card to pay for his operation costs.
Your child will then proceed to back-talk his own grandfather, who looks bewildered in his new role as the unpaid intern in charge of all the tedious coding. My takeaway is that Xfinity will turn your child into an entitled asshole with no respect for authority and no love for family. Basically Xfinity will turn your child into the human version of Comcast. He will know success, but you will know only regret and disappointment.