The Audi-acity of the Audi R8 5.2 and it's anti-green image!
I’ll get back to that. But first the basics.
When a sea-changer like the movie Avatar erupts through the fabric of conformity, awing global throngs while trembling the status quo of mechanization, exploitation and viral military, you have to expect the ticks to come out.
What do I mean? First, you’ve got to fully understand the essence of the tick, which is to say, the full extent of its raison d’être.
Intro To Ticks, 101
Ticks are single-minded. They serve their own goals. To them, people are just meat. There’s absolutely no chance a tick will decide not to feast, once it has snuck into a vulnerable spot, usually a place that seems awful for them to violate, like your crotch, armpit or navel. It doesn’t bother the tick at all. It has no ethics, doesn’t care about ethics, and never will.
Finally, ticks are numerous. If you wander into their region, there are thousands of them waiting for any opportunity to suck your blood, no matter how underhanded, mean or vile.
Intro To Advertisers, 101
Okay, now compare ticks to advertisers, marketers and their shills. They do whatever they can to get you interested in buying their product. Maybe not all admen are like ticks; but in the corporate world, where the bottom-line is cash, it stands to reason that a huge number of them are; and we all know they are out there. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. Caveat Emptor and all that.
So, without further ado, let me introduce the human version of the tick, the admen:
(1) They serve their own goals. To them the customer is just money (their version of blood). They exist to feed off of you.
(2) There’s no chance they won’t take your blood, once they’ve snuck into a vulnerable spot, the mental equivalent of your crotch, armpit or navel.
(3) It doesn’t bother them at all. Just business as usual. No ethics.
(4) They are numerous. Everywhere you go, the admen want to have a sign, jingle, promo or song that pushes their product. They will swarm you, and, yes, they are voracious. And unlike naturally occurring ticks in the wild, they never get full.
Avatar and Ticks, 101
All right, then! What does this have to do with Avatar. I guess I’m just excited, because the other day, I saw a really gross promo tick leeching off the success of Avatar. It is surely one of the biggest marketing ticks I’ve ever seen.
Business Section of the L.A. Times, January 15 2010, the front page headline reads:
“A magnificent, ‘Avatar’-style creature”
Okay, what is the writer, Dan Neil, talking about? Which creature from what lovely landscape on the planet Pandora? Those beautiful wild dragons? The sturdy horses? The breath-taking luminous tree seeds? The acrobatic and enticing four-armed monkeys?
No, Neil is talking about a car. That’s right. The whole article is about a machine with a big engine (gotta love that 13 mpg), just the sort of thing that the movie associates with the forces of evil.
You know, those steel monstrosities, fueled by oil, that rip apart the most magnificent planet in the galaxy. Those vehicles that the hero says, “Come from a world where they have destroyed their Mother Nature, where there is no green left.” (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it)
Does Neil care that he is twisting the message of the movie to pitch a product?
No evidence of it. You’ve got to expect that from a tick, I suppose, though I’m still pretty disgusted. Humans are supposed to have a conscience, after all. A lot of admen are sociopathic, but I bet the majority of them aren’t, and so they should show a drop of compunction.
Maybe Neil wears one face at work and another at home, like a lot of us. And maybe the face he wears at home is crying because he sold out the higher message of Avatar to hawk a degradable product only available to rich people in a world where the true price of wealth is billions of poor and the rape of the Earth.
What’s amazing is the size and boldness of this corporate tick. Neil’s bloodlust is gargantuan. He dares to suggest that the car he’s promoting (the Audi R8 5.2 FSI “supercar”) is your new body, like the Avatar body entered by the hero, Jake Reilly.
This flashy Audi, which will be old news in a year, is the “avatar of automobiles.”
Never mind the traffic jams, poisoned air, lack of forests or even a tree or two to climb in; never mind the absence of a lush ecosystem diverse with wildlife and replete with natural wonders; never mind the pervasive lattice of gray all around you; never mind the dead urban brickscape with no animals except leashed shitzus and hardly an ort of green--none of that is important because your Audi, available in “Na’vi Blue,” is such a thrill.
Neil gets a special Tick Award, for the audacity (or is that Audi-acity) to name the color of the car after the Na'vi, the people of Pandora. Hey, it’s no worse than calling a football team the Redskins, right?).
But wait a minute. Wasn’t Jake’s avatar made out of flesh and blood? Wasn’t it BIOLOGICAL and not a suped-up piece of heartless non-regenerating tin, the kind of thing bought by small-time princes who are so insecure and subconsciously guilty that they need glorified toys to prove to themselves they are worthwhile?
If I were an exec at Audi, I’d be upset by Neil’s review. He basically pitted Audi against Avatar. The worst nightmare of the ad industry can be summed up in three words: Unintentional negative advertising.
Anyone who buys an Audi R8 now will look like a real fool.