A recent corporate tie-in commercial for Verizon and the LG Spectrum phone depicts a man trying to choose between the LG Phone, and not just AN R2 unit, but R2D2 himself. I would not be a proper geek if I did not tear this commercial apart, and not just because of my love of Star Wars but also because of my issues with bad corporate and movie tie-ins.
This commercial, while plugging the phone, is tying into not just the Star Wars Movies, but the upcoming Star Wars 3D movie to boost phone sales. Ok, lets say I’m ok with that (I’m not saying I am, but lets SAY I am), lets look at the structure of the commercial. The first thing that the salesman does is dole out the specs of the phone, and then downplay everything R2 can do, saying simply, R2 needs a Star Fighter.
Well, first, lets look at how a real salesperson would handle this situation. I have known salespeople who avoided giving any of the great features of an item to instead sell another item, however in this case it goes a bit far, especially since the main thing the salesman could have said was, R2 is used… VERY used. R2 has seen many battles, is over 100 years old, at least, in his own galaxy, as well as an apparent trip between his galaxy and ours. (He looks to be in great condition for his age. Obviously Rick of American Restorations has had his hand in repair and restoration of R2 before he is seen on the Verizon commercial.)
From this same point, we can also say that the salesman simply doesn’t know his R2 product, anyway, in saying that R2 needs a Star Fighter. (ULTRA GEEK ALERT!) R2 does NOT need a Star Fighter and, in fact, is one of the most versatile droids in the R series of Astromechs created by Industrial Automation. In fact, even though we do see Luke use R2 as a navigator in his X-wing, R4 units were the traditional droids used in this role. And while most Star Fighters, and even larger craft, relied on Astromech droids, the droids themselves were served as automated mechanics, which again goes back to their versatility. And since, as previously established, R2 is a used unit, we could look at his past and mention all the various things he is capable of doing.
Now lets take the fact that R2 is an Astromech droid to the next logical step in this line of thinking and say, who would be considering the choice of a droid or cell phone? These two items are SO far apart that it is possibly the biggest plot hole to appear on any screen, big or small, since anything broadcast on the Fox News Network or [insert most recent Uwe Boll movie title here]. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve walked into phone stores recently and thought, man, I’d really love one of those tablets, but if you’re considering an R2 unit vs a cell phone, you must have decent money (unless R2 is free with a 2 year contract, in which case how much is THAT data plan?) so why not buy both?
Of course, there have always been commercials that get under our, or at least my, skin but this, coupled with a few others recently, just has me all up in a tizzy (yes, a tizzy). If we are going to have better writing in sitcoms again (and thank goodness we are) we need better commercials too.
One such offender is this Nissan commercials (seen above), one of these ‘its really happening because it looks like its recorded by a hand-held video camera’ commercials, in which someone driving a Nissan Frontier down a snow-covered mountain, hitting a hill and doing a barrel roll before coming to a perfect sliding stop. In the first of two tongue-in-cheek ‘Don’t try this at home’ warnings, we are told, “Fantasy. Trucks can’t snowboard. Do not attempt.” Fantasy? Trucks can’t snowboard? Hold on one second while I write onto another forum.
“Dear Mythbusters, please snowboard a truck down a mountain because I believe it can happen because I saw it on a commercial and think it’d be really cool to see what the real results are. Thank you… “
Ok, I’m back. In the second ‘warning’, as the truck spins through the air, we are told “Or do barrel rolls. Do not attempt.” Hang on, I forgot something in my letter to the Mythbusters…
“Also, please try the barrel roll, just in case. Bee-tee-dub, if it doesn’t work, you probably weren’t using a new Nissan Frontier. Make sure you get it right.”
At the end of the roll, the truck lands and slides to a nice quick stop. The REAL warning in this commercial should be at this point, reading “Fantasy. The brakes on the truck mixed with the tread of the wheels would never be able to stop the truck in this amount of space. Do not attempt or the people filming you will be pancakes in the Rockies and you, if you survived the jump, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” Sure its longer, but hey, whatever happened to the small print at the bottom of commercials anyway?
Side note: If you’d like to see what would really happen to a truck after trying even a quarter of that jump, see the video at the bottom of this post.
Of course ultimately, in our Verizon commercial, the customer (looking a little like Seth MacFarlane) ends up choosing the phone leaving a sad sounding R2 unit and making all of our wives or girlfriends saying “Awwwww, poor thing… whats that one’s name again?” Which goes back to my original point, R2 just can’t get no respect.