Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Big Day

The car commercial to end all car commercials.

"The Big Day" is the official name of a VW television commercial that aired during Super Bowl XXXV. It was produced by the agency Arnold Worldwide, was photographed by Neil Shapiro and directed by Dante Ariola.

This is simply one of the most powerful influences of every creative endeavor I have ever embarked upon in over 10 years. It is an ad for a car, yet, the car is only part of the image and emotion. The music, by J. Ralph, perfectly echoes the tense vibe (as well as the rising prominence of lounge/house acts such as Thievery Corporation and dZihan & Kamien) and drives the story with a calm urgency. The wedding is shot in beautiful shades of grey and white, muting the brighter, shaper colors and lends the entire film a dreamy quality. The hero in the Jetta is dressed in a black suit and no tie, which in the age of Craig Kilborn, is completely of the era and, subsequently, timeless.

All of these things put together give us a story that is ambiguous, stylish and utterly unforgettable. The fact that we really don't know why our protagonist is breaking up the wedding gives us the perfect platform to project our own ideas and history to it; Who is to say that he has good or bad intentions? He could potentially be an evil ex-boyfriend whom the bride-to-be has never been able to let go of despite the good intentions of her husband-to-be. Who is to say that she isn't someone who has put everything on the line to protect Captain Jetta from being persecuted via a blackmail scheme by the supposedly well-intentioned groom-to-be? He could be sacrificing himself by even showing his face near that church. Or, maybe he's the groom's brother? He's wearing a black suit and no tie, perhaps was he coming from his OWN wedding, which was just as much of a sham as the wedding he is interrupting?

To me, The Big Day doesn't necessarily mean a wedding; it could be the day that everything changes. Here, he's making a huge gesture and obviously putting an entire room on edge. He's effecting the future realities of dozens of people in a span of 30 seconds. The viewer, in the passenger seat of all of this, can only speculate, and in doing so projects their own imagination and conclusion. In essence, this short 60-second film gives us all of the tools to create our own amazing, stylish fantasy. The car, the entire point of this even existing at all, is the catalyst. It brought him to the wedding, as the sun breaks through the clouds and rain, to The Big Day.

It's a car commercial, but it's a signal of change and growth, of style and, ambiguous (yet personally meaningful) substance. It's basically the perfect commercial and a fantastic work of art.

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