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New Toyota Prius Ad Reads Like Underwhelming Propaganda
This afternoon on the Travel Channel I watched a compelling episode of Anthony Bourdain's 'No Reservations', a show I'd never seen before and was only watching on accident because I'd left the TV on following another show.
Between shows, this black screen pops up warning viewers that some material for the following show might be distressing for younger viewers ... 4 PM on the Travel Channel, you got my attention. The episode then opens with a close-up of a broken, devastated Bourdain—a man who typically moves with an understated if no less all-world New York City swagger. As it turns out, his crew went to Beirut in 2006 to film an episode and were unlucky enough to arrive on the eve of what would be the 2006 Lebanon War, a 34-day war that began when Hezbollah militants in Southern Lebanon killed some Isreali soldiers and kidnapped two others.
It was set against this emotional high-drama that I caught a commercial for the 3rd Generation Prius—the first I've seen.
In it a Prius drives through a paradisical landscape pulling a red-faced sun along on a string, closing with the underwhelming and unimaginative line, "It's harmony between man, nature, and machine."
For kicks, some symbolic interpretation: The Prius, as engine to—and Earthly agent of—the Sun, is the great giver of life. In the ad, everything—from pastures to clouds to trees—is composed of thousands of people leaping and jumping, the end effect being that of a parade with overjoyed minions lining the streets to salute their savior.
It was very similar to this one posted on YouTube just a few days ago, but with different music, and again, with the sun hitched to the bumper.
(Side note: For as succinct and balanced an explanation of the presense of Hezbollah militants in Southern Lebanon in the first place—and by extension, the full Middle East conflict between the Palestinians and the Isrealis—I strongly recommend Sandy Tolan's The Lemon Tree.)
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