Brothers & Burgers ( A Tale of Two Kingdoms)
Not so long ago in a land not so far away there were various and sundry black creative who dwelled in a land of wonder. They whittled away all day in their magic shop of ad-like wonders. But one day the King approached and all the little ad elves became gleeful and anxious. As the king always had good tidings of new creative task, often tied to ad shop sustaining budgets and a modicum of fear because said profits were always steeped in opportunities for loss. On this particular day the king bore his trademarked plastic smile, no really it's trademarked. Through those unmoving creep-filled lips came great tiding of diversity and joy. The cherub like black elves roared with delight and murmured of actual budgets and possible real world Agency of Record status. But none such status awaited them. Alas, the king declared I will unify the part of the kingdom (account) that is usually reserved for the least of you and bequeath it to thine other dudes.
The little inhabitants of Uniworld ad land were devastated. And despite their pleas sprinkle with boast of magical knowledge of the "dark" arts. The king still saw fit to let the little black ad elves craft his ad wares and spin his tiny straw-like budgets into black (or green) gold no more. There once happy work shop grew suddenly sullen, the sun shone a tad less.
The king was very pleased with himself and his decision. For he had found a much fairer village to plunder, I mean lay his blessings upon. Though it were a far and distant land known as Boulderus Colorado. In a place Ad people believe to be veritable Mecca of marketing. There was a tiny village called Crispin Porter & Bogusky. It was indeed a much fairer place, for a practitioner of the "Dark" Arts was seldom seen there. This mythical village was a place that didn't believe you had to understand the "dark" arts to practice them, you simply had to be really good at your form of uber-hubristic arts to do anything. They had a sorta one ring to rule them all approach to creating ad magic. Why doubt it, for years it had served them and their liege well.
The King in a most reversed twist of royal protocol; knelt and bowed before the villagers of CP&B land and offered up a gift. The king said humbly, "Because you have served me so well and you have so well tickled my funny-bone. I gift to thee the Blackuth account. Please bless it with your brand of magic. My elves of UniWorld have done a fine job but, I get mega cool-points for just knowing you guys." The King asked in a most eager fashion, "What do you plan to do with the Blackus accountus?" The inhabitants a little perturbed the king dare ask, retorted, "We got this."
The king remembered fondly the fun he had on the set of the hyper-sex-for-kids "Baby got Back" shoot for the commercial that offended so many. He smiled inside remembering the calls he fielded for weeks of angry mothers. There was a certain tingle mixed with subtle acid reflux when he pondered the massive menu changes suggested by the agency that all went south. And that day Sir Alex almost remembered his name and their hands nearly brushed as he handed Alex his coffee. Good times he thought.
Fast forward a few months later to the bitter end of my terse writing skills and constipated attempts at humor and you get the commercial above. It would seem in this hallowed land of advertising the magic bean is FRAT-BOY humor. This wizard behind every curtain and the uni-antler nosed upon every white horse. I agree humor is magical, it's sublime, but sadly, it's the stuff award shows are made of. However this heavily repeated almost certainly rewarded -- one form of magic does not cure all marketing ills. Look, I deride the constancy of African American themes by AA shops as well. But there is something to be said of people not knowing that there are things they don't know. Furthermore, different lands do have different lore. And yes most importantly there are myriad of universal themes. A common magic if you will. It's sad to say this magic is most often missing when the dominant culture is asked to address the needs, languages and subtleties of the emerging cultures.
This commercial by CPB touches on none of the universals. Instead it falls on the stereotypical rails of Black people in a club throwing it up and being as interested in sexy freaky things as slave masters warned Miss Sally about centuries ago. It's certainly missing a spark. Humor is hard and black humor rarely translates into commercialism. Partly because of the brutal honest at the core doesn't allow for much of the put-on nature of advertising. You can't clean up most slang and make it translate into "urban." Not that this commercial really goes there, but it does do funny in an unnatural way. It's inside out humor or 'white-face humor on black bodies.' It's not easy so they get two courage points... or was it naiveté? Did the team simply not know there are some things they don't know? And lastly, how is this better than UniWorld?
Maybe all this so-called uniting of accounts as it's known in some lands and looting and pillaging it's called in the browner parts, is lacking a true solution at this point.
Oh, who am I kidding, the big shops with the money, influence and the "magic" are about to get paid yet again. And will continue to do so until the minority shop realize that the Prince and the Pauper positions are really just mindsets that they haven't overcome yet. They have the ability to rewrite or better yet write their own future given their history an intrinsic knowledge of what will be the dominant cultures. These villagers should rise up unite and rule.