Monday, March 8, 2010

Thinking about "It's a Wonderful Life."

There's a scene in Capra's 1946 classic, "It's a Wonderful Life," in which Clarence and George go into Martini's to have a mulled wine or some such after George rescues his angel from his dive into the river. While the two are deciding what to drink, Nick the bartender (the great Sheldon Leonard) says this to them:

Nick: Understand this, sir - we serve strong alcoholic drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don't need any strange people around to make the place seem special. Do you understand, or do I have to hit you hard with my left hand to convince you?"

Watching the commercials on the Oscars last night made me think of this scene. Not because of its filmic quality, but because the scene was all about getting to the point. My point, now that I've gotten here, is that most of the spots I saw last night don't get to the point--if they get there at all--till about the 25th second. Some commercials don't get there at all. Like American Express' Members' Project which I suppose wants me to feel good about American Express because some of its members are doing stuff for Haiti.

Well, Coke and McDonald's tell me they feed our Olympians. GM tells me they're for families. Others tell me that they're greener than the Yankee Stadium outfield.

Get to the point, willya. What are you doing for me?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

George, If you don't know what Coke and McDonald's do for you you're in trouble. The point of TV commercials today is branding. That means they don't have to tell you what they're about. You're just supposed to know that they control your life. Coke could start making drain cleaner and their commercials wouldn't have to change. Shiny, happy people. it's good thing companies used to advertise 30 years ago or I wouldn't know what anything is supposed to do.