Cadbury, Airport Trucks, WTF***?

29 Mar 2008

Art can have no clear endingFallon’s new Cadbury ad fails in every way that Gorilla succeeds. No whimsy. No personal touch. It ain’t going viral.

The premise of the spot is that a fleet of airport vehicles has “pimped themselves to show their unique character, ready for the race of their lives.”[1] So, like Pixar’s Cars, we’re expecting cheeky and anthropomorphized characters.
Cool, let’s roll.

Now it feels like the truck we’re supposed to root for is the small orange underdog we follow from last place. But just as it gets toward the front, the spot cuts to a Dukes of Hazzard shot of the large blue truck. So is that now our hero? Dunno. In closing the camera pulls up, Queen sings “no stopping” and the trucks keep trucking. So not only am I still sans hero, I don’t know who wins the great race.

Well, maybe the spot is not about one truck in particular, but about their collective joy at an illicit runway race. Yet throughout the ad, we keep seeing bits and pieces of humans, prepping and driving the vehicles. This furthers our narrative dissonance: Are our heros the trucks or the drivers? We never meet the drivers, so can’t pick a fave, but care less about the trucks, cause they haven’t truly “pimped themselves”.

I’m lost and lonely on the tarmac.

Now dear reader I love abstraction. Some of my favourite movies have no clear arc or heroic payoff – Lost in Translation, I’m Not There, Hiroshima Mon Amour, etc… Great adverts and art empower themselves to tweak narrative conventions. Fallon’s Gorilla is one of those greats, a 90 second window into the world of a hirsute drummer. I love that spot like a fat kid loves cake. But Airport Trucks? Similac.

[1]Cadbury’s Tony Bilsborough