You’ll likely recall this one if you ever saw it. A dopey high school senior gets a graduation gift from his parents. The gift is a sad little dormitory refrigerator which Mom and Dad have festooned with a ribbon. The gag is that it’s sitting in front of a shiny yellow Camaro convertible. The kid, who we’ve already pegged as a little dopey, sees the car and mistakes it for his graduation present.
While the premise of the ad is simple, it speaks to us on many levels. As parents, we realize that our ideas of gifts, while grounded in the necessities of finances, may not jibe with the preferences of our kids. There is also a certain common sense to the parents’ choice of a dorm fridge – you graduated from high school, Tommy and you were lucky to get into a state college. Those two facts merit a small appliance, not a muscle car.
We can recognize the unrealistic nature of youthful optimism. Kids clearly have little if any idea about the cost of a brand new car. The neighborhood setting of this comic tableau is decidedly middle class. This is where working people live, not the rich folk who would possibly buy their child wildly generous gifts for fairly pedestrian achievements.
The commercial succeeds because the incredible high of a cool new car is not lost on any of us, despite the fact that we will have to deal with payments, insurance and higher and higher gas prices. Mr. Johnson, the neighbor who the car actually belongs to, understands these things, but he is still financially solvent enough to be able to go play a round of golf. The director cleverly leaves out the potentially awkward act of Johnson putting a full bag of golf clubs into the trunk of the Camaro before he drives off.
This commercial works for me because it speaks to so many things which have nothing to do with a Camaro.
Alright, enough of these commercials, I’ve got featured presentations to write about.