Sunday, March 4, 2012

L'Absurdité of L'Odyssée de Cartier

This isn't the post I was meant to write tonight.  The post I began is still sitting there, waiting for me to finish it.  But I decided to take a break and watch the latest episode of The Celebrity Apprentice. Frankly, I'm disappointed in this season's women and I'm rooting for George Takei, my favorite Facebook celebrity friend (who seems to be in danger this episode)... But I digress.

We record The Celebrity Apprentice and watch it on a delay so we can fast forward through the commercials and catch up on some other shows on Sunday nights. Sometimes, when a commercial catches my eye, I skip the fast forward. Yes, viewers, I'm willing to sacrifice my time and my sanity in order to bring you the best, strangest, and most interesting spots that TVland has to offer.

Tonight, at commercial break #2 or #3, the first moments of this commercial caught my eye before my thumb could hit the fast forward button on my remote.  I was mesmerized and my curiosity took over.  I just had to see more, and I needed to know where this sparkly wild cat was going to take me.

So here's tonight's offering. It's the latest from Cartier, entitled L'Odyssée de Cartier.  And this mini-movie clocks in at 3 minutes and 31 seconds, so grab your popcorn.

What just happened? 3:31 later, I still don't have a clue. This commercial makes me feel like an absolute crazy person.  Every time you start to feel like a plot might be forming, the ad shifts, the cat jumps into another world, and everything is turned upside down.

I thought it was strange, but manageable until the dragon appeared.  That was when I realized I was truly lost.  When the "short film" was over (remember, I have trouble calling these short films, as I noted in my post the Chipotle epic), I began to shout at the television screen. I'm still puzzled.  And I'm happy to announce that I don't get it.

I mean, the jeweled cat is gorgeous from the start.  Cartier seems to refer to it as a panther, but I always thought panthers were completely black, not spotted.  I thought this was more of a leopard or a cheetah.

Regardless, I love the piece in the window display.  And after watching tonight's Celebrity Apprentice, the spot seemed perfectly placed to compliment an episode centered around designing Ivanka Trump's window displays at Lord & Taylor for her clothing, shoes, and jewelry line.  Points for that, Cartier. I get that you are sophisticated and striving towards high art. But must you make me feel... dérangé in the process?

I like the cat.  I like the cat coming alive. I like the cat going on adventures that happen to conveniently intersect with moments that promote the brand (woman wearing diamond ring, woman wearing fancy bracelet, giant clock face and watches reading "Cartier"). But most of it is less obvious, like the giant gold rings rolling down the cliff.  They are a shift from our now real cat in a real world back into some kind of fantasy. The metallic dragon is a strange, beautiful creation that turns into the Great Wall of China.  I admit I don't quite understand these elements. Better than those, there's a jeweled world of trinket wonders that our cat enters.  It is reminiscent of The Secret [Jeweled] Garden. I love the little jeweled alligator and jeweled snakes. There's something about this moment in the spot that is delicate and precious in a way that is perfect for the brand.

But then our cat wanders out and we realize he's on an elephant's back.  What?
Kitty jumps off the elephant and on to an old timey flying contraption.  I like the plane and the pilot quickly flashes his classic timepiece at the camera. Ahh, ok, it's starting to feel like a commercial again.  Timeless elegance, check. Show the product, check. Phew, familiar territory. So familiar, in fact, that our pilot takes back to recognizable lands--Paris. Kitty meanders into a lovely woman's parlor and is greeted like your average house cat, with one distinct difference. When you pet this cat, you don't get a fistful of cat hair, you get a palmful of diamonds.

Okay, I'm staying with you so far, Cartier. It's hard, but I've done everything I can to buying into this crazy world you've created.  But you absolutely lose me in the final beat. The pretty lady and our cat disappear into a jewelry box.  What!?!

I wanted our panther/cheetah/leopard friend to go back to the little pedestal where it all began.

It should have gone full circle. I was bewildered and puzzled at the conclusion of this mini-movie.  If I had been eating popcorn (as I should have been), I would have gagged on it. Three minutes and thirty-one seconds of insanity. At least it's a pretty, sparkly insanity.

The Ratings:
Appeal: B-
Effectiveness: B
Longevity: B-


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