Waterboarding? That is, like, soooo Saddam. Desecrating the Koran? A bit obvious, we'd say. If the Pentagon insists on semi-torturing prisoners into revealing why they hate our freedom, why not kick it up a notch? Bam! Show those enemy combatants some year-end car commercials.
Nobody can stand that kind of abuse.
Show them some fake news hosts at their anchor desk throwing it to the live shot in the bustling showroom. Show silent-movie footage of people in bowlers and walrus mustaches rushing en masse, Keystone Kops-style, through the streets. Show confetti and streamers and adult persons with jaw-dislocating grins shouting the word "sale-a-bration."
You want a surge? That'll be a surge. Within minutes, every last one of those terrorists will be on his knees, either revealing secret plans to destroy our way of life or praying toward Mecca for a TiVo.
Because every human has his limits, and the year-end-clearance genre is to advertising what the IED is to motoring.
That's why the accomplishment of Kia Motors">Kia Motors America -- via David and Goliath, Los Angeles -- is so noteworthy. It's an end-of-model-year-sale commercial that not only isn't torture, it's actually totally fun to watch. Repeatedly. Miraculously.
Oh, and it cost about $12. Oh, and it shows every vehicle in the product line. Oh, and it makes you do something you most likely never would have done in your life:
Think about Kia.
The premise is simple enough. The spot takes place entirely in a Kia showroom, where the sales staff is saying goodbye to the 2006 merchandise, presumably because it's on the way out forever. That's kind of funny in itself. They've grown attached to the Sedona, Sorento, Sportage, Spectra, Mucilage, Bandana, Pinko, Recto or whatever those things are called. They're choked up, like orphanage workers saying one last goodbye to little Dmitri or Su Lin.
Saccharine departure song
But it's bittersweet, because that cute Bandana is going to a better place. So, as an ensemble, they perform a rendition of the most quintessentially saccharine departure song ever sung and danced: "So Long, Farewell" from "The Sound of Music."
Song, long. Farewell. Auf Wiedersehen good byyyyyeee ... I hate to go, and leave this pretty siiiiiight ... So long. Farewell. Auf Wiedersehen. Adieuuuu.... Adieu, adieu, to you and you and youuuuu. Goodbyyyyyyyyye.
OK, the song is horrible. But let's face it, it's also irresistible. It's especially irresistible when performed so charmingly out of context by car salesmen who can't much sing and absolutely can't dance. The whole thing is, in a word, a hoot.
Not a moment too soon, either. History will recognize 2006 as perhaps the worst year for U.S. car advertising in decades. For instance, try to think of one good spot. Go ahead, we'll wait.
See what we're saying? If anything came to mind, it was probably those VW ads graphically portraying near sudden death. Please note that the head of VW advertising just got a sudden year-end auf Wiedersehen of her own. The other memorable commercial was for a Chevy truck, which, by way of establishing the Silverado's place in American culture, invoked, among other painful memories, Vietnam.
Now, if we're not mistaken, Vietnam is synonymous with pointless bloodshed, futility and American intervention so catastrophic it would never, ever be repeated. To be reminded of that by an automaker wasn't just weird.
It was torture.
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Review: 3.5 stars
Agency: David & Goliath
Location: Los Angeles