Author Archives: Steve Smith

About Steve Smith

Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies and Director of Film Studies at Millsaps College

Pickups on Mars: Ford, “This is the Ford F-150” (2012)

Surprised by the high prices of pickup trucks, my dad reminisced the other day that a pickup used to be the simplest and cheapest vehicle you could buy. I think I remember how this was still true in the 1960s. … Continue reading

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Going Comprehensive: MCI, “This Is Now” (1996) and Apple, “Bulbs” (2016)

At any given time there may or may not be a current TV ad that dares to comprehend the whole American or even human experience in 60 seconds. It’s obvious when the attempt is being made because of the extraordinary … Continue reading

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Going for America: Coke, “America the Beautiful” (2014) and Chevrolet, “The Heartbeat of America” (1990s)

* SUPER BOWL SPECIAL * A politically divisive sign of the times, here is Coke’s beautifully multicultural “America the Beautiful” ad shown during Super Bowl 2014: We’re told that the languages used are English, Spanish, Tagalog, Hindi, Senegalese French, Hebrew, … Continue reading

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The Metaphor Twist: SunAmerica (1995)

Watch what they do with the sand metaphor. At first, the sand makes a poor foundation, a bad retirement plan; but at the end they turn it into the hourglass sand of time that falls out from under all of … Continue reading

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Arrived: Lincoln Continental (2016)

What is it to arrive? Arrival is a tremendous possibility, wondering who might arrive. In 2016 we were reminded of what alien contact might mean by the movie Arrival. (And what about the Messiah or the Messenger or the Awake … Continue reading

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Rhythm Meanings: Beats by Dr. Dre, “Be Heard” (2016) and Nike, “Instant Karma” (1992)

I present two brilliantly edited ads: Beats by Dr. Dre “Be heard” As the brand demands, the editing is heavily on the beat. Everyone is pounding their chests in time and the cuts are almost always on the measures of … Continue reading

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Real People, Not Actors: Seafood City (1970s) and Red House (ca. 2009)

It’s a popular TV ad trope now that I’ve been seeing in a Chevy commercial: “real people, not actors.” Chevy of course spends big bucks to put exquisitely appropriate real people (curated real people) on an elaborate set with the … Continue reading

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