As a comedian, Mike Myers is bosom buddies with self-awareness and taking the fourth wall with a sledgehammer. He also has a brother, Peter Myers, who has worked at Sears for 32 years as a text shot in a new Sears commercial is quick to remind us. Yes Peter Myers is most assumedly the only reason why Shrek would do a commercial for a failing retail giant. If you haven’t watched it yet, it’s only a minute long.
Killing the elephant before it gets in the room, it’s one of the most self-aware commercials ever made. Awareness of Sear’s declining fortunes and awareness of the Myer brother’s reasons for being in the commercial. Mike Myer’s reason is literally the hashtag #mybrotherworksatsears that Sears is promoting, and the commercial plays it like a kitten on a rubber mouse.
A lazy hack would have just had Mike Myers acting as a spokesperson for Sears and supporting his brother in the most straight-way possible. Awful. Here’s what we get instead.
“Do you know anything about the retail business?”
“Not a lot… just that Sears Canada has to demographically and psychographically alter the trajectory of its business model… but that would just be a wild guess.”
Besides barbs of the Mike Myers alien UFO sex diet, there’s no personal banter between their relationship. Only them playing that the reason why they are there is Sears in trouble + Mike Myers star power + Peter Myers connection = hopefully we’ll still be employing Peter Myers next year.
Staring At Us
The Myers brothers carrying us through the ideal version of Sears, with products hearkening back to their glory days almost makes it nostalgic. The whole product tour is almost a cliche for retail commercials but it works here to be poked at.
When Mike Myers keeps making aside glances even as he and his brothers dance around the issue of Sears, its Austin Powers telling us yeah “I am totally aware that I’m just spouting the script and that corporate suits are aware that I am aware that you are aware and Aaaarrrgghh SELF-AWARENESS OVERLOAD!! (not really, but the fourth wall is leaned on pretty hard).
The “Actual” Commercial
What’s funny is that we don’t see the actual “camera” or “set” when the Love Guru does the “actual” camera like Mike already knows the camera has been following him and his brother. The old Sears Jingle (and the only funny bit in the commercial) is the old and failing Sears and the simpler one of #mybrotherworksatsears is the new (and hopefully) profitable Sears.
And with this new take, the title backdrop of the Sears and the forefront of the text is genius. Genius because it becomes the narrative that Sears is combining all the pretty nostalgia of it’s store with the self-awareness of trying something new.
Self-awareness in any narrative is a great way to (don’t overdo, otherwise your making self-parody) to be more conversational with us, the viewer/listener/reader. By taking using self-awareness trope, Sears was able to pre-empt any thought that calling in Mike Myers was a desperate move to save their failing business, and that it’s acknowledging current woes and it’s moving forward somewhere positive (hopefully with more Shrek and less Love Guru).
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