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Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Who Lives Like That? The Most Absurd Aspirational Ads Out There

This #NoBollocks content was produced in partnership with Newcastle Brown Ale. If you enjoy this article, won't you be a doll and watch a TV commercial on the Internet? Go on, it's right there on the right.

The advertising industry is inherently aspirational. Commercials create a fantasy that elicit both desire for a possibility and disappointment in the reality. We don’t buy the product, we buy into the idea the product promises us. Depending how you look at it, life is either nothing but anticlimax, or rife with opportunity. By making a purchase, we are refusing to settle for the former. Happiness is that thing before we need more happiness. I totally cheat on Megan in Season 6. – Don Draper, 2012.

We’re willing suspend our disbelief for an hour a week to watch those crazy ad boys (they’re mostly still all boys, sorry Peggy) weave consumerism and storytelling. However, there are certain ads that portray such an absurdly luxurious lifestyle that we completely bypass envy and go straight to sarcasm. We want babes and hunks spoon-feeding us the new Taco Bell Dorito taco too; but these recent commercials take the dream a little too far.

They all beg the question (read a la Wheel of Fortune): Who. Lives. Like. That?

Emirates – Hello Tomorrow

If you have watched Hulu in the last two months there is a 125% chance you’ve seen this commercial at least twice during one twenty-two minute show. So who can afford to lead a global nomadic life like this? Apparently not even the characters in the commercial, who are last seen dashing for a bus after (presumably) trading their plane tickets for surfing lessons.

NetJets

Despite their honest-to-god inability to “understand anybody [travelling] any other way,” we get the distinct feeling that Bob & Beverly Lewis are the only people living like this.

Tommy Hilfiger – House Par-tay

Tommy's name for the commercial, not mine. So who lives like this? Maybe this is where all those hapless young people wind up when they miss the last Jitney to the Hamptons, on the Island of Misfit Socialites.

Roberto Cavalli – The New Fragrance

Fragrance ads are fish in a barrel when it comes to the game of who lives like that – but this recent ad really begs for it. For a woman so seemingly assertive, you would think she’d demand a little more clothing. Unless her pet tiger ate all the spare fabric this mansion/model party had to spare. That’s the plausible explanation.

Nikon – Ashton Kutcher in Malibu

Maybe on a good day, Ashton Kutcher lives like that. Look, we can definitely buy that there are certain affluent beaches that boast a disproportionate bounty of hot, young women. We can also be led to believe there are many girls who spend all day whimsically taking pictures instead of productively contributing to society. But both in one place, and at least one married to a stereotype of a Russian gangster? C’mon.

Land Rover – Born Free

Who lives like that? People that don’t have jobs. Who can afford a Rover Range? People that don’t have… wait, no.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Whose definition of “just the right amount of wrong” is this? This ad deals less with questions of ethics, and more with the absurd impulses a very small group can afford to indulge. Normally I’d say gambling’s a waste of money, but, if this is what your planning on blowing your hard earned cash on next time you visit Vegas, consider the blackjack table a prudent investment.

Laura Turner Garrison sometimes writes commercials, she sometimes writes comedy, but she always rights wrongs.

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  • Scott

    You forgot one: 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUEeEUAju3Q I've never seen a truck driver like this.

  • Miss Pinkie Pie

    I almost thought this was going to be about those cheesy Telebrands commercials where people find it SO difficult to do everyday things.
    "Oh, no! I can't open this jar of peanut butter! Whatever shall I do?"
    "Never fear! Ridiculous Invention will save you!"
    Who lives like this?

  • http://twitter.com/BarbiturateCat The Big A

    There's a car commercial with some idiot in a hot air balloon, and his wife is chasing after him in a Subaru, then he touches down in a field, and they have a good laugh about how rich and free from responsibilities of everyday life they are. Or something, I don't know, I could be reading too much in to that.