With the Super Bowl looming there is almost as much interest in the advertisements that will be shown as there is in the game taking place on the pitch. Because of the huge audiences; the 2011 superbowl was officially the most watched television programme in history with 111 million views , the advertisers pull out all the stops with their production values. So here’s the Mercedes ad: featuring some brilliant visuals, A list Hollywood name (Willem Defoe & Kate Upton) and a Rolling Stones Soundtrack (Sympathy for the Devil).
I expected more from Mercedes – You wonder how advertising standards allow this sort of drivel through – a road car out performing a Formula 1 car, driving a mercedes improving your dancing ability. But most worrying is the way this ad plays on the same premise as those facile Lynx adverts with a demeaning view of women: in these ads women are so vacuous that if you own the right car, aftershave, even under arm deodorant then you are irresistible to them.
Someone is still peddling the myth that it is still possible to find fulfilment through the ownership of the right objects. The ad promises that your soul can be free for under $30 000 but by introducing the demonic theme into the ad – maybe the advertisers are actually offering not spiritual freedom but quite the opposite. The issue of possession is being raised. The trope of a deal with the devil of course plays into the narrative of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness where he was shown all that could be his if he would do a deal. But possession in another sense is also being raised: as Tyler Durden’s character put it so well in Fight Club:
The things you own end up owning you.
Jesus put it better… “What profit a person if they gain the whole world and forfeit their soul” Mark 8:36