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.

Danny Trejo plays Marcia Brady and how awesome is that?

Superbowl is coming up and while I don’t want to be that dick who only-watch-it-for-the-ads, this  is a narrative marketing site, not a sports site so ads away. But if you do know what a forward pass is and why XLIX is going to be exciting then Go Seahawks Go! So here’s a preview for Snicker’s ad for the Superbowl by Ad Agency, BBDO New York.

Now a good commercial will be able to fit a great narrative in a couple minutes, maybe even a minute, but a 22 second runtime is equivalent to a paragraph in a story. However, this teaser to a 30-second commercial has already racked more than half a million views. Do you know why?Because Danny rode-a-motorcycle-minigun Trejo is a member of the Brady Brunch. Bang that’s why. It’s kickass premise.

In stories or narratives, a premise is what it’s about in succinct terms i.e. Inception is A heist movie in a dream or “Hobo with a Shotgun” is about a Hobo with a Shotgun. And premises should be exciting for the potential entertainment gained from seeing it fleshed out. In the Snicker’s ad, it’s the hilarity of why and what could happen. There is so much we want to know, why does Carol Brandy think Danny Trejo a middle-aged Mexican tough guy is her teenage white little girl? Why does Danny Trejo think he’s a teenage white little girl? How is Snickers going to play it?

Danny Trejo + Marcia Brady

The premise of real-life badass Danny Trejo clashing against classic family sitcom from the 70s could be a guest star episode in itself (I’m imagining Danny “Machete” Trejo having lost his mind and only a Snickers bar can remind him who he is before he mows down the rest of the Brady Bunch with a machine gun for making him think he was a little girl).

This is why the Snicker’s ad got so many views, it succeeded in capturing the entirety of an amazing premise into something we would immediately watch. Any writer can tell you that capturing the entirety of a story in only a couple of words to be the headline/title for a narrative can be one of the hardest parts of writing. In marketing especially advertising, there is only so much time you can have before the reader loses interest (we only have an 8-second attention span, less than a goldfish). This is why headlines in articles and blogs have to be click-baity.

And with Superbowl ads being a thing more than just an ad and having such wide coverage (with a $4.5 million price tag) being able to capture people’s attention in a sea of other undoubtedly amazing ads is crucial. However, Snickers may be getting the prize now, for holding us with the thought of Danny fretting over a high school crush.