Kia Pierce Brosnan Feature Image

Why Superbowl ads are about Meta-Casting – by an ex-James Bond

So the chili recipes have been tasted, beers have been jugged and another Superbowl has come and gone. Incidentally good job Patriots! And we have finally caught the full ad for the the Danny Trejo Snickers ad, I was talking about last week. And regardless if you have or haven’t seen it, it deserves a watch so check it out below!

However Snickers wasn’t the only ad that had a celebrity-driven Ad. You may have caught Pierce Brosnan’s KIA ad, by David & Goliath, starring Pierce Brosnan trying to audition for James Bondsy sort of role.


And it’s beautifully tongue in cheek because of course Pierce Brosnan thinks he’s being asked to go James Bonding around. He’s the Michael Keaton of James Bond actors (I mean seriously can you name any of the movies he’s been in after James Bond?). And that’s what makes it so awesome. It’s not just an example of Meta Casting, a common enough trope for ads. But also being Meta to another level of literal; poking fun at the Meta Casting of Pierce Brosnan.

The ad’s message is of the  buy-this-because-I-use-it-and-I’m-popular that is one of the oldest techniques in ads. And with Superbowl ads expected to be such high budget amazingness that people (like me) watch the Superbowl just to see them, casting prolific actors is one of the easiest ways to make it happen, e.g. William Shatner’s newest Superbowl Ad or Seth Rogens from a couple years ago.

What’s so special about Pierce Brosnan’s ad is that it is a fulfillment of our modern narrative aplomb with self-awareness of our own pop culture consumption and we go along with it with a snigger and a wink. We see Pierce Brosman expect the ad to conform to what he expects everyone expects of him, just spy-thriller action car chases until it’s no just a regular car driving through beautiful scenery ad. We aren’t given the stereotypical ad of most car commercials or the meta-casted ad of the celebrity doing what he’s famous for, but how we imagine the planning session plays out. The ad is aware we want high-quality ad with a tight-story that makes maximum use of Pierce Brosnan and how we see him and how he knows we see him: his one-hit role as James Bond and nothing else.

KIA Slogan The Perfect Getaway Vehicle

In marketing it can be taken to acknowledge our understanding of what consumers think of a brand and what they want from it. This is encapsulated in the slogan: “The perfect getaway vehicle” a perfect play in this clean sentiment of Kia’s expectations but also Pierce Brosman’s expectations, and our expectations? We came here to watch the ads of course we’re going to admire how clever the slogan is in it’s own right.

Mike Myers Sears Commercial Feature Image

Why the Mike Myers Sears commercial is a Narrative in Self-Awareness

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. 

“Brotherly” Banter

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.

Sears Commercial Peter Myers

“Do you know anything about the retail business?”

Sears Commercial Mike Myers

“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.

Sears Commercial Mike Myers staring into camera

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.

Sears Commercial My Brother Works at 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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