While premiere episodes of The Good Wife and Celebrity Apprentice competed for primetime ratings, a brand new, three and half minute Cartier commercial stole all of Sunday night primetime.
A three minute commercial film is a novel idea for American television. And a welcomed idea as well.
For one, the singular three and half minute ad cuts down on the four to six, successive, frantic thirty second ads believed to be responsible for much of the country’s undiagnosed attention deficit disorder in adults and children.
Instead of many unrelated commercials in a row, audiences get one with the new Cartier ad. The Cartier ad has a name: “L’Odyssee de Cartier.” Cartier’s Odyssey is 165 years old. In other words, Cartier’s been around since 1847. The three minute video speaks to a rich history of entrepreneurialism and adventure.
There’s a leopard, (other releases describe the large cat as a panther, but leopards are members of the Panther genus, so it’s all one in the same. There are snakes, a big, gold dragon and reptiles. The leopard stalks and sulks through lovely, albeit arid scenery.
This stalking and shapely animal replaces the typical sex symbol in a jewelry or parfum advertisement. Typically, a shapely woman in a tight dress slinks through long hallways. But in the Cartier ad, the panther has all the sex appeal. Bejeweled lizards and snakes enchant the set. Alongside the large, gold and rather patriarchal and threatening dragon.
Hopefully the Cartier ad is the start of something new. It would be so much better for American television, its younger viewers and consumer parents, if one product had one long and interesting commercial that returned viewers back to their show immediately after its three and half minute commercial run.
A new wave of three and half minute commercials for one product would drastically reduce the number of consumer advertisements that Americans are exposed to in such short periods of time.
For another, the ad embodies what television really should be: pure, driven and inspired creativity. It’s immediately clear the Cartier Odyssey ad is produced somewhere outside of the U.S. And it’s clear because U.S. luxury ads tend to drown viewers in excess.
(Nevermind how much the ad must have cost Cartier.)
Kay Jeweler and Lexus ads, for example, aren’t simple advertisements about jewels or cars. Those ads sell love in addition to diamonds and transportation. Adoring, hot and steamy love among middle aged Americans and baby boomers. A group, coincidentally, more likely to be unhappily married, if not angrily divorcing or divorced. In the United States, commercials that typically appeal to wealthy consumer audiences dictate what wealthy people look like and the suburban homes they live.
The Cartier ad suggests that fancy jewels are worn on fancy occasions. And when those jewels are not being worn, they’re safe with reptiles. Reptiles typically represent jealousy and envy, not to mention these animals typically elicit human fear. Reptiles are also animals that stay out of sight until they really want something. In other words, reptiles are not showy (like lions).
The dry land, sand dunes and background are also incredibly creative. The arid region is wetted with jewels, green, red, and of course diamonds. All of it, incredibly creative. There's far more to be said on Cartier's play with time and the company's legacy. For example, the watch and the paper airplane are direct reference to the Cartier watches.
So much so that a Celebrity Apprentice or Good Wife recap pales in comparison to the many layers present and worthy of discussion in the new Cartier Odyssey commercial.
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