Vivent Les Differences

An American reader has just sent me this ad (thanks, B):

It made me think how beautiful the photography is and how it’s nice to see a big, meaty brand film in this day and age (apparently it runs properly on network TV over there).

Then it made me think about how American it is. I thought that a British attempt to do something similar would fall terribly flat and seem rather desperate. Only in America, as they say.

But why is that? Well, the obvious answer is that we’re all bloody different. We all have our own cultural personalities that mean we can or can’t make film like this. I think that English people are class-obsessed with elements of being somewhat apologetic about the Empire and somewhat embarrassed at its collapse. We’re riddled with fundamental antipathies that make us dislike and mistrust one another to a greater or lesser extent (obviously a generalisation, but like many generalisations it’s true).

I believe (as a substantially Scottish person) that people from Scotland define themselves by their existence in the shadow and under the thumb of their more successful neighbour to the south.

Perhaps the French arrogance is a blustery cover for their guilt about what happened in WW2. Perhaps not.

Anyway, this is all leading to a point about globalisation and pan-global ads.

Of course, some of them work very well (I’m thinking about Playstation Mountain and HSBC ‘local bank’ here), but most are a lowest common denominator effort that means nothing but vanilla blancmange to the vast majority of their audiences.

I would have thought that the differences between us were obvious enough for the folly of effective global advertising to be equally obvious.

And if you want further proof, this would be the celebration of Britain that seems closest to the Levi’s ad, and yet it’s fucking miles away: