Monday, April 12, 2010

How I would have written Man's Last Stand

My least favorite 2010 Super Bowl ad came from one of my favorite agencies for one of my favorite cars. Wieden+Kennedy's Dodge spot portrayed men as emasculated drones who need a Charger to make up for their impotence. The script, which I cut-and-pasted from Lybio, reads:

I will get up and walk the dog at 6:20AM. I will eat some fruit as part of my breakfast. I will shave, clean the sink after I shave. I will be at work at 8:00AM. I will sit through two hour meetings. I will say yes, when you want me to say yes. I will be quiet when you don’t want me to say no. I will take your call and listen to your opinion of my friends. I will listen to your friends opinions of my friends. I will be civil to your mother. I will put the seat down. I will separate the recycling. I will carry your lip-balm. I will watch your vampire tv shows, with you. I will take my socks off before getting into bed. I will put my underwear in the basket. And because I do this, I will drive the car I want to drive.

To me the whole thing sounds like it was written by a planner. "See, this is what men tell us in focus groups, so this is what we need to put in our spot. Exactly. Word for word." Others thought the spot was supposed to be funny, and I was missing a joke.

But if you're dreaming of a different life, the last thing you want is to be reminded that your current one is a big testosterone drain. Here's a script that would have resonated with me:

I walk the earth at will. When I see a city block, I build a building on it. When I see a half-block, I build a skyscaper. I've built a career. And I've built a family. I don't share my memories - you can see them reflected in my eyes. I put the ball in the end zone and the guilty in their place. I have broken my bones and watched them heal. I make unpopular choices. I do what needs to be done. I am a man. I walk the earth at will. And I drive what I want.

After loving the Charger and W+K for so long, it seems strange to have such a negative reaction to their collaboration. It's even odder to take a swing at a script myself. And it's just plain stupid to publish it. And yet, there it is.

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