Yesterday, I attended Steve Carell's latest mainstream comedy DAN IN REAL LIFE (as films directed and partially written by Peter Hedges go, it's an improvement over PIECES OF APRIL, which included Katie Holmes as the world's most mild-mannered punkette) and was fortunate or unfortunate enough to see these advertisements:
1. A 3 Doors Down video meant to promote the National Guard, with intercut footage involving Guard members saving disaster victims, fighting in the Revolutionary War and kicking ass and rescuing a downed guard member in Iraq. The most fascinating aspect to this video (besides the craven commerciality of 3 Doors Down) is the attempt to sell mainstream youth the vision that joining the Guard is now another viable military option--just like the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. And if the ad inspires enough recruits, a draft will be again avoided and the Iraq and forthcoming Iran wars will continue being fought in a sort of stealth fashion, with affluent youth staying in their iPod and Halo 3 bubbles and not being forced to think about war and its consequences.
2. A crappy Honda commercial for a new van that uses 1960s graphics but decides instead to use a few bars from Heart's one-decade-later "Barracuda." Obviously, ad agency reps don't remember (or, if they do, don't care to pay the rights for) Sammy Johns' 70s single "Chevy Van", which, in my mind, is a perfect encapsulation of the 70s middle-class travel-the-country-and-let-the-one-night-stand-out-in-the-next-town ethos. But it's probably too mellow-sounding for a target audience sitting in a theater waiting for (most likely) SAW 4.
Or maybe Honda couldn't meet Pete Townshend's price for the use of The Who's "Going Mobile" from WHO'S NEXT.