Apples and Oranges and Tears of Joy

Mixed Feelings

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In the past week, Orange Mobile has woken up as a dejected lover and then, days later, a triumphant object of desire. So now that the European iPhone shakeups have settled, this new TV spot in the U.K. feels like a weirdly prescient taste of Orange's suddenly bitter fruit.

In this ad by Publicis Conseil Team, the world has finally united to.... er, punk astronauts, and Doris Day's backing track, "Keep Smilin', Keep Laughin', Be Happy" makes her sound just as confused as we are. Is it a joyous occasion where man has found a common purpose or is it a disastrous one, where the cosmonauts lose track of the earth and implode in the sun's gaze? Furthermore, what does this have to do with the Internet or cellphones?

With all the charcoally blues and overcast skies, it's a twisted vision of happiness, indeed. Paint is thrown, kids laugh, but Day's finger snaps and distant bells hint at a more somber reality. And when she sings "Let's be happy / ho ho ho ha," it's hardly convincing. But, by the time you figure out what the fuss was about, the commercial ends up being pretty funny. But still eerily perverse, especially if you find yourself in England watching it on your non-Orange iPhone.

Compounding the irony, this song comes from Day's 1961 LP Bright and Shiny, a concept album about joy that was a commercial flop.