Friday, March 6, 2009

If I Made a Commercial for Trader Joe's: A Waltz With Mortality

I have mixed feelings when it comes to Trader Joe's. Actually, I take that back: my feelings aren't mixed at all. I love some things that they have and hate the rest. That's cheap alcohol and excessively packaged, dubiously ecological dry goods, respectively.

The creator of the viral video posted below seems to share some of my negativity towards the store, though for different reasons. Regardless, the film is an interesting new breed of commercial, one which the maker made of his own volition, though it clearly does the work of TJ's marketing board for them. And that's the idea. In his own words from an interview on NewTeeVee:

“I’m interested in the idea of creating a new genre of advertising, the heartfelt commercial, that really expresses how you feel about a product or store,” he said. “It’s a whole new area of advertising, where there’s much less client involvement — they can just say yes or no.”

Still, I have my doubts. It still reads like a fake in the way that the subjects comply with the narrative, from managers who aren't supposed to let the guy be filming to the accommodating yoga moms. Everyone knows that yoga moms are actually really mean.

But viewed as an artistic statement, I like it. Whether it's a new media ploy or not, you'll notice a dark, nostalgic undercurrent, a dance with temporality against a backdrop of life giving juices and bran muffins.

In other words, no matter where you shop, you're still going to die.

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