This commercial stars James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell reading aloud the texts of two indecisive friends.
As I mentioned in the previous post, this is a commercial that is very clearly reflective of the time we live in. To situate it in a historical narrative, I will talk about the content of the ad and the way the ad works to create a personality. This ad is particularly ‘of its time’ because it utilizes many of the characteristics found in contemporary ads. As discussed in class, this is they type of ad made for people who are very aware of ads and do not enjoy watching them or being sold something. To combat this, the makers of this ad used humor and wit to draw in the audience’s attention. As I stated in the previous post, the humor is uniquely self-referential and acutely aware. The casting of James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell is a clear cultural reference. To a foreigner watching the ad, they may not understand that these two people are canonized as great actors and would be lost on some of the humor. The casting of these actors is likewise a celebrity sponsorship or endorsement.
Another facet of this ad is that it seems authentic. I personally do not like to watch ads and this one is enjoyable to me. Although it is an ad, most of the focus is on the humorous content, rather than the product it is selling. I think this ad is also very contemporary because it’s content is text messages. Text messages are the primary way younger people communicate. This also speaks to the age we are in because it glorifies the everyday. Social media acts as a broadcaster of mundane activities and makes them seem relevant. This new type of narcissism that inconsequential details can and should be communicated with the world is unique to our generation. Media like Twitter that encourage us to tell everyone on the internet where we get coffee in the morning are part and parcel of this narcissism and go along with Sprint’s ad that says ‘everything’s important.” Sprint’s ad is fueling this phenomenon by using a ubiquitous text conversation disguised as “Chris and Craig’s Texts” to imply that they are using a conversation that has happened in real life. In doing so, they capture the attention of anyone who has found themselves in this situation and reinforcing it as important. It also communicates to the audience that if “Chris” and “Craig’s” mundane texts can be TV-worthy, so can theirs.
In terms of the advertisement itself, this one is less informational and more transformational. There is a high emphasis on the creative aspects of this ad rather than the product itself. It is more focused on the content of the video and only leaves a few seconds at the end of the commercial to tell the audience about the product. I am finished giving my attention to this ad the second the product information begins and I suspect many others have this habit as well. But after watching it, you know that it is a Sprint ad and you may come away thinking that Sprint is funny and has quality commercials. As I said above, this ad transforms the average texter into a celebrity, saying that even the most inconsequential conversation can be the content of a national advertisement. This sort of humorous, transformational ad is very specific to the past few decades and this ad beautifully demonstrates this.