2014 Maserati Superbowl Ad – Storytelling, Deception, & the Middle Class

I watch the SuperBowl for the ads. Sometimes if the game is interesting enough, I’ll watch that for a minute or two, but usually I’m just there for the drinks, buffalo wings, and big budget commercials that offer ‘heartfelt’ messages that connect deeply with the spirit of America and problems it’s facing. Last year we had the “God Made a Farmer” ad spot by Dodge which paid homage to the small American farmer whose iconic imagery is a reminder that they are still an important backbone of our economy. That ad went as far as to include farmers of different racial and ethnic backgrounds – something commercials focused around farming do not do.

I had high hopes this year, especially for car commercials.

Well people had high hopes for the Broncos too.

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The 2014 Maserati Superbowl Ad featured easily the best narration of all the ads aired during the game; it also managed to create compelling visuals that lulled me into thinking “I can’t wait to see this movie!”. I mean seriously, here are some lines from the video:

“The world is full of giants. They have always been here, lumbering in the school yards, limping in the alleys. We had to learn how to deal with them. How to overcome them”

“We were small but fast, remember? We were like a wind, veering out of nowhere.”

“As long as we keep our heads down, as long as we work hard, trust what we feel in our guts, our hearts, then we’re ready” Ah, sweet Meritocracy – the greatest lie Americans still believe.

“We wait until they get sleepy, until they get so big they can barely move, then we walk silently, walk slowly out of the dark. Then we strike.” Almost sounds like a manifesto for taking down big banks, corporations and monopolies, eh?

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What ruins this entire video is the juxtaposition of images of a young black girl and a blue-collar worker (also a person of color); you see these characters and discover at the end of the video that it is for a car that barely anyone in American can afford. The working father in the video can’t afford it. The little girl can’t afford it. The narration is trying to indicate that if you work hard, you can afford a Maserati. Whatever advertisement agency made this is disgustingly out of touch. You want to market a luxury car? Great! Don’t market it at the visual expense of the people who make your cars that clearly can’t afford them. There are enough lies told buy politicians that support this non-existent idea that we live in a meritocracy – that somehow, if we work hard enough, we will all be millionaires.


What’s extremely depressing is that the character featured in the ad is the amazing actress from Beasts of the Southern Wild – Quvenzhané Wallis. She’s too good for this video spot.

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Fred McCoy

Fred McCoy

I live in the now, darlings. I live in a permanent #selfie. I stare only outwards, because I am a man of outwards thoughts. Twitter / Google+ / Pinterest

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