All this time, we'd assumed the three prime colors
of the TV holy trinity were the three primary colors: blue, red and
yellow. Nope, turns out that it was blue, red and green.
If adding a blade to the Quattro razor makes for a
smoother shave, it stands to reason that adding yellow to the video
palette would make TV more colorful, bright and lifelike. Enter,
then, Quattron, from Sharp, which outdoes the status quo to the
tune of 33%. Whether this results in a noticeable improvement,
however, we are in no position to judge. The slogan is, "You have
to see it to see it," and the slogan is true.
McGarryBown, New York
The new commercial, featuring actor George Takei of "Star Trek"
fame, not only makes little attempt to demonstrate the product
difference, it comes within a whisker of self-consciously pointing
up the absurdity of attempting to demonstrate the product
After all, showing superior color on a TV commercial is a visual
tautology; the picture quality is confined to the picture quality
of the set being watched. This leaves it only for the ad to imply
(i.e., fake) superiority by splashing all sorts of bright, vivid
primary and secondary colors on the screen, as luminously as
possible. Tropical fish have historically been popular subjects.
Sony Bravia used DayGlo bouncing balls and cannon-fired wall paint,
all of which looked good on any screen.
Sure enough, Sharp too goes the coral-reef route, on a
flat-screen Aquos set up behind Takei.
"At Sharp," he says, clad in the white labcoat of a Sharp
engineer, "our goal is to reproduce every color in the world on TV.
Introducing Quattron quad-pixel technology. It adds a fourth color,
yellow, to the standard RGB color system, creating a vast array of
colors you can't see with your TV's three-color technology. But you
can see this."
Here something odd happens. The flat-screen pivots sideways and
Takei takes a gander.
"Whooa!" he shrieks in amazement. "Oh, myyyyy!"
Hmm. Apparently some sort of joke has taken place. It's clear
enough even from the sidelong angle that the fish scene itself
doesn't change, but maybe Nemo shoots him the finger or moons him
or something we can't make out. Whatever hilarious and unexpected
moment we've not been privy to, Takei chuckles right into the
"Quattron from Sharp. You have to see it to see it."
It's as if McGarry Bowen wanted to have fun with the idea that a
TV commercial for a TV is a fool's errand, but didn't quite have
the nerve -- or the client leeway -- to admit that you
actually have to see it to see it. But, no, conventions
are conventions, and there's the yellow aquarium specimen looking
approximately as bright and vivid in blue-red-and-greentron as it
does in Quattron.
The net net of all this is that a pretty good idea -- seeing it
to believe it -- is largely squandered by all the goofy
misdirection. This would include the casting. Takei may or may not
retain some futuristic Mr. Sulu resonance, but if so, it is not
exploited here. He's just a strange guy with a deep voice, dyed
hair and a vaguely creepy sense of humor.
Our best guess is that this campaign will succeed or fail based
on a combination of media weight and online word-of-mouth about the
merits of Quattron.
Of course, if TVs are like the razor business, we expect Sony to
introduce Quintron at any moment -- "For the brownest browns on
TV!" -- followed by the LC Octopix. Whoooa! Oh, my my my my my my