Yes, in a media culture that marches to the rat-tat-tat machine gun cadence of TV and movie offerings like "A Current Affair," "Hard Copy," "Reservoir Dogs," "The Simpsons" (that's O.J.'s clan, not Homer's), "Blown Away," and, coming soon, "Die Hard 3," advertising exists in its own time warp, seemingly oblivious to what's going down in the hyped-up cyberworld of the mid-'90s. It's like the Partridge family is living next door to the Mansons.
Now, there are some advertisers who are hellbent on getting in your face kung fu style. The preachy, adroitly PC shockmeisters at Benetton do occasionally manage to tweak the sensibilities of the bourgeois American media. But their exploitation of AIDS, Bosnia, and the like is just so much Eurotrash condescension. However, give them credit; what they lack in taste they make up in cojones.
And, in a pathetically obvious attempt at slumming with America's teenage wasteland, Leo Burnett's new burp-and-sneer Nintendo campaign sets new lows in middle-brow pandering to the "Beavis and Butt-head" generation. Hock a loogie at Chicago; where are advertising's $4 million copywriters when you need them? But I'm not here to just dis it out, folks. I've got a solution. Let's give the pristine, nonviolent world of TV advertising a shot to the body by bringing in a true gonzo artist to kick a little butt and liven up the airways. I say we all chip in and hire Oliver Stone-his day rate is a reasonable $1 million-to direct a major beer campaign.
Here's how the Man of Stone's opening directorial salvo might go:
EXT. SUNSET: Pan from fighting scorpions to a roadside bar in the rural American Southwest. MICKEY and MALLORY, two lean, mean and sexy serial killers with a wry and demented sense of humor and a big American thirst, walk into the small-town tavern. Seated at the bar are two YUPPIE LAWYERS in Brooks Brothers suits and Budweiser caps. Next to them are two SURFIN' HUNKS with MATCHING BIMBOS who are flirting with Adolf Coors. Next is a MOROSE HEINEKEN DRINKER surrounded by other brooding import types, including a self-conscious AMSTEL LIGHT DRINKER who is frowning over a copy of Details magazine. And over by the pool tables is a stuffy, fussy SAMUEL ADAMS SNOB who is observing a game between two Miller-clutching MALE MODELS in tank tops, while their MILLER BABES play suggestively with overchalked cue sticks.
MICKEY: Well, well, what have we here, Mallory? Looks like a goddamned casting call for Melrose Place and the off-Broadway production of Waiting for Godot.
MALLORY: Which happens to be us, right, Mickey?
MICKEY: Can white men jump, sugar britches?
(Cut to BARTENDER, the annoying Zima guy with the stupid hat.)
BARTENDER: Zay, mister, we zidn't want no trouble in zere.
MALLORY: What the hell are you zaying, jerk? Ya just talkin' to him 'cause ya don't think a woman can hurt ya, right?
(MALLORY pulls out a Black & Decker electric carving knife attached to a heavy-duty, 25-foot GE extension cord, calmly plugs it into a wall outlet and hurls it through BARTENDER's throat, as Aretha belts out "Respect" on the jukebox.)
MALLORY: That oughta clear up his zpeaking problem.
(All terrified eyes are on our heroes as they strut around behind the bar and crack open a couple bottles of Miller Genuine Draft.)
BUDWEISER YUPPIES: Hey, guys, we'd be proud to be your buds.
(MALLORY begins to dance suggestively before she pulls out a Smith & Wesson .38 and empties it into them, speed-loading and re-emptying the gun as they continue to jerk like death puppets, streams of blood arcing across the sawdust floor.)
MALLORY (laughing): Get these turkeys some beechwood-aged coffins!
SAMUEL ADAMS SNOB (waving a copy of The Economist): Why do you two kill so indiscriminately? We're human beings just like you. We just happen to drink different brands of beer-in my case one that's not mass-produced.
MICKEY: Why ask why? Well, if you really gotta know, we've tried other brews, but they gave us the blues. I guess you could say we're ... natural born Millers.
MILLER BABES (indignantly): Like, what? We're the Miller Model Spokespeople, dude.
MALLORY: Prepare to meet the ultimate brewmaster in the sky, you phony baloney hopwhores!
MICKEY (pumping his shotgun): That's right, gals. You ain't gonna be the champagne of bottled blondes inna minute. (Several shotgun blasts blow the MILLER BABES through the front window in a slow-motion symphony of crimson shards, as Debbie sings "Heart of Glass." The Miller MALE MODELS scream in terror and run, as MICKEY and MALLORY grab their pool cues and give chase. They catch them at the fire exit, which is locked, and beat them to jelly with the sticks, pumping a few pistol rounds into them for good measure.)
MICKEY: Those lowlifes chugged their last High Life. (He wipes the blood off his pool cue and sights down its length as if it were a gun barrel.)
MALLORY: What the hell are you lookin' at, Mickey?
MICKEY: What, Mallory, darlin'?
MALLORY: Don't darlin' me, Mickey. I see your eyes on those silver bullet-bra bimbos.
MICKEY: Calm down, sweets. This here's the '90s, and a man's gotta have a little variety.
MALLORY: Maybe in his breakfast cereal, baby, but you better be true to one woman and one beer. (She whips out a Winchester over-under and blows the MATCHING BIMBOS over the bar as Tina husks "What's Love Got to do With It?")
SAMUEL ADAMS SNOB (his beer sneer gone, now smarmy and trembling): You two may not be in my demographic, but wouldn't you love a taste of America's finest hand-crafted beer? It's so ... crisp?
MALLORY (snarling): Look, ya Boston buttwipe, your radio commercials bore me outta my skull.
MICKEY: Yeah. They'd put a motel orgy to sleep. (He pulls a two-foot Japanese ceremonial blade from the Tokugawa period out of his crotch area and pins the SAMUEL ADAMS SNOB to a beam in super slow motion, punching the blade through his chest, which causes red droplets to spray on his sunglasses. A POV through the blood-spattered shades, then the scene is presented in odd-angled cuts alternating between supersaturated color and ultragrainy b&w, as the victim squirms like a skewered bug. Bob's "It Ain't Me, Babe" is heard softly.)
MALLORY: Well, Mickey, I guess that leaves only Mr. Heini and Mr. Amstel.
MICKEY: And one will live to tell the tale, 'cause we always leave a witness so folks can groom our legend. (He whips out a Glock 17 and empties it into the MOROSE HEINEKEN DRINKER, who is propelled over two pool tables by the steady stream of slugs, finally smashing into the rack of sticks, which fall on his head one by one, adding insult to extreme injury.) No jingles, no models, no slogans ... just dead yuppies.
MALLORY (glaring at petrified AMSTEL LIGHT DRINKER): Remember, you tell 'em it was Mickey and Mallory Miller wasted the competition, for MGD. That's Miller Genuine Draft, one goddamn beer you won't wanna order in a fern bar, you 95-calorie wussbucket!
(Cut to: EXT. DESERT HIGHWAY AT SUNSET. MALLORY and MICKEY are cruising in a classic convertible, discussing the next stop on their trip.)
MALLORY: Where we headin', Mickey?
MICKEY: Honey, I've got a hankerin' to befoul some of those trendy micro breweries up in Portland. We're losin' sales to those worms. Yeah, it's gonna be a black day for Black Star.
MALLORY: Hey, ain't that Niketown?
MICKEY: You bet your Wonderbra it is, babe. And Nike's usin' the notorious Willie Burroughs in a new campaign.
MALLORY: The guy who killed his wife playin' William Tell?
MICKEY: He claimed he was drunk, it was an accident.
MALLORY: Well, hell, Nike'll love us! We're as notorious as he is, and we sure as hell can shoot better than him! Hey, baby, ain't that a Corona truck we just passed?
MICKEY (reloading his shotgun with homicidal glee): Let's just do it! I hate that pisswater! (They hang a tire-burning 180 and take off after the truck, both firing out the windows and grinning happily. Later, still on the road .*.*.)
MALLORY: You know where we should go after Portland?
MALLORY: L.A. I want to kill Pauly Shore, before he makes another movie.
MICKEY: Then I reckon we'd better go to L.A. right now.
MALLORY: Don't you want to be in a Nike commercial?
MICKEY: Yeah, but, Mallory, do you think you're the only girl who would enjoy wasting Pauly Shore? We'd better get down there pronto. And wouldja hand me an MGD, sweetie?
MALLORY: Drink and drive? That's terrible, honey!
(Fade to black, as they speed down the road.)
The following preview is rated Vitamin C-17. Coming soon: Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Orange Juice," for Tropicana. "You can't ice-pick a better juice!"
Formerly creative director at West & Co., Tampa, Doug Hardee now heads The Hardee Group, a Tampa creative concept company.