“Why is no one listening to me!?”
That’s not me saying that. That’s Oscar Isaac in the new Nike spots. Although it could be me. Such is my perspective on social media.
I love the new Unlimited You campaign. How refreshing when a brand admits they don’t know shit about people and why they do what they do, all told through the helpless mania of Oscar Isaac’s voice. And how refreshing to have an announcer voiceover lose control of their own commercials. More on that later.
This is a case of comedic heroes blindly and industriously (the athletes) doing what they think is reasonable. In this case, throwing themselves off cliffs and jumping off of crashing cars. Comedic heroes live in arrogance, confident their choices will result in success.
Then the brand responds in a wonderful state of helplessness. As a disembodied voice, Oscar has no control over these crazy dreamers. Comedy teacher Steve Kaplan calls this “active emotion”, the naturally occurring response to the world around us. Oscar’s voice cares about these maniacs and their safety. But he is powerless.
Isn’t this just like life? (I think of the things my family members do. Eesh.) In life, people don’t change unless they want to change. And in the meantime we scream and shout and give advice and they just keep on going. This is funny.
Oscar’s voice keeps going too, living in his own arrogance that he can stop them. Two struggles – confident madness and helpless flailing.
And in life, if the stakes in life weren’t so high, it would always be funny. But we’re all wrapped up in egotistically getting what we want, it’s hard to sit back and laugh.
On a whole ‘nother level, this is a case of advertising subverting itself. We’re so used to announcers sucking us in with their “we know better than you” attitudes and to have Oscar come in and lose control – great. Yes, he reveres these athletes and they also mystify him. Which means they mystify Nike.
What I’m trying to say is human beings are mystifying. Thank you for listening to me.