iPhone ads are gradually destroying my perceptions of some great actors.
First, Samuel L. Jackson is chatting with Siri about recipes and organic ingredients for his risotto. I realize that Mr. Jackson is an actor, and it’s not fair to only think of him as Jules Winnfield in “Pulp Fiction”. I also realize that Samuel is not necessarily interested in people thinking that he is Mr. Winnfield. He’s been in plenty of movies since then, playing all sorts of characters. Clearly he is his own man and is not to be defined by one single character. I’m also fairly confident that the good folks at Apple paid him an enormous sum of money to do that commercial, and as such, he was obligated to follow their script. Despite all that knowledge, it breaks my heart to see him chatting it up with an automated phone-chick for grocery shopping advice.
I like advertising to take bigger chances. As Jah as my witness, I swear I would go buy myself an iPhone within the hour if Mr. Jackson as Jules Winnfield was talking to Siri.
Winnfield (speaking into his iPhone with a look of cool annoyance on his face and his Jeri-curled locks looking like a black Medusa) : “Bitch! Where can I get some organic mushrooms for my muthuh-fuckin risotto?”
Siri: “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
Winnfield (kicks over a barstool in the kitchen and picks up a cleaver from the counter) : “What country you from?”
Siri: “I’m sorry what did you say?”
Winnfield (holding the cleaver menacingly) : ” ‘I’msorrywhatdidyousay’ aint no country I ever heard of! They speak English in I’msorrywhatdidyousay?”
Siri: “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
Winnfield (throws the cleaver aside and pulls a large, scary handgun from his jacket and aims it at Siri, despite the fact that the phone is in his own hand) : “Say ‘I’msorrywhatdidyousay?’ one more mothuhfuckin time!”
You see what I mean? Not only would I go buy an iPhone, but I would record the commercial and watch it over and over again, because I would be proud to own an iPhone. In fact, I’d probably go out and buy one or two more iPhones. If the commercial ran long enough for Jackson to actually shoot the phone, I would likely swoon.
Instead, I’m left scratching my head. Why in the world is Samuel L. Jackson cooking his own risotto? He should have a bevvy of super models in lacy aprons and heels cooking for him. If one of them skinny chicks slips up and doesn’t use the organic mushrooms, well.. she gonna wish she did.
As if my disenchantment with Samuel L. Jackson’s ad isn’t enough, iPhone came out with a few more celebrity ads.
An actress named Zoey Deschenelle shows up in one. I honestly have no idea who she is, but if that’s her birth name, then she really had no choice but to grow up and become either an actress or an international spy. If that’s not her original moniker, then I think the pretentious name police might have a warrant out for her arrest. The commercial is entirely forgettable. She’s dressed in frumpy pajamas, asks the phone annoying questions and wraps up the commercial by dancing badly as she leaves a messy room.
John Malkovich also appears in a couple of iPhone ads. Over the course of his career, he’s played a range of roles. While I don’t identify him as directly with one character as I do with Mr. Jackson, I think of Malkovich as being a sophisticated, witty man irrespective of whether he’s on the stage, screen or walking down the sidewalk. In the commercials he’s sitting in an elegant room with opera on in the background, and asks Siri to tell him a joke.
Siri says “Two iPhones walk into a bar…I forget the rest.”
Mr. Malkovich leans his head back in his tasteful, leather-upholstered wing chair and laughs at the pathetic attempt at humor by Siri. To look at his amusement, you’d think he was drinking gin rickeys and trading barbs with Dorothy Parker and Burl Ives at the Algonquin Round Table.
I realize that the people at Apple are trying to sell phones, but can anyone actually believe that an intellectual, urbane man of the world like John Malkovich could possibly be amused by a stupid phone telling half a joke? This man starred in “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway with Dustin Hoffman! We’re not talking David Hasselhoff here.
Alas, the almighty dollar can convince even the most accomplished actors to sell soap.
Here’s a tip for future stars of iPhone commercials; take less money if you have to , but demand some creative authority over the finished advertisement. There’s no reason you can’t plug yourselves at the same time you’re hawking that iPhone. Think you can’t do it? Ask Clint Eastwood how it’s done. He did a commercial for Chrysler, probably got a boatload of cash and came out looking liker a bigger, badder version of himself than he already was before the commercial aired! No one at the Super Bowl party I was at shook their heads and wondered how a mega-star could’ve sunken to such a low station in celebrity life. In fact, I’m pretty sure that one or two of the party goers ran out the next day and put down deposits on the latest versions of K-cars.
On the other hand, if Apple decides to start using unknowns in their commercials, like say blog writers from the South of Jersey with aspirations of becoming novelists from the South of France, I’ll be more than happy to tart it up however their creative team asks me to. Just sayin…