Ford Super Bowl Commercial: You Are a Cat with a Box Stuck on Its Head
This coming Sunday, a bunch of people are going to watch a football game. You might be one of them. But you might not be—you may choose instead to do something more productive with your time like read a book or knit a hat or ponder the futility of existence in a vast and uncaring universe where neither you or any football of any sort actually matters or play with your dog.
Or you may be one of those who is roped into some kind of social gathering, not really caring about the game and not completely consumed by existential dread (if only momentarily) but somewhat interested in all the neat commercials that are going to run across the screen. If you are one of those people, and you are curious to see what Ford has in store for you during this Sunday’s horrifying spectacle, behold:
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Well, hey, if nothing else, this commercial in so many ways nails the feeling of aching, endless ineptness that imbues nearly every waking second of your existence. Look there, that’s someone stuck in a sea of gridlocked cars! You can relate! Hey, you’ve locked yourself out of your apartment before, haven’t you? Or been stuck in a ditch? Or been stranded ineptly on a broken ski lift, staring into the yawning white void ahead and dreading the long drop into the yawning white void beneath?
You certainly know what it is like to have been headlocked in a seemingly endless struggle with a stronger opponent—in your case, your opponent is reality, and you are wrestling fruitlessly with your place in it. See that cat with the tissue box on its head? That’s all of us—our lives spent laboring against an obscurity that prevents us from seeing the truth, from comprehending the incalculability of all that is and has ever been, from truly grasping how infinitesimal mankind is on the boundless and incomprehensible stage that is time. Man is just a lazy beast pawing endlessly at the tissue box the world fits over its whiskered face from the moment it is born.
Anyway, yeah, the people in this commercial are all saved from these predicaments by Ford vehicles like the 2017 Super Duty, Fusion, and GT and by mobility concepts like ride-sharing, self-parking vehicles, FordPass, and eBikes. Hooray for a brief and welcome respite from everlasting misfortune!
All the while, Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” scores the scenery, perfectly voicing the desire of all sentient creatures (and perhaps even insentient ones) and colliding with a spot-ending voice-over provided by Bryan Cranston. The Breaking Bad star assures you that Ford is developing new ways to help you travel unscathed through the interminable sorrow that is life—faster, easier, better, but never absolved of the sin of existing or relieved from the perpetual pain that it causes. He doesn’t actually say that last part, but it’s implied.
In total, the spot is 90 seconds; for Ford to air the commercial during the game in its unaltered form, it would be paying $15 million, a sum that would almost certainly be better spent in the aid of a worthy and important human cause than lining the pockets of terrible (but no less insignificant) people like Rupert Murdoch and Roger Goodell. It may seem silly to monetize time to that degree, but time is nothing if not a commodity, and it is really all that we have now and will ever have, though it is not your ally and cares not for how you choose to utilize it.
Think about that while you’re watching this and the various other commercials this coming Sunday. Think long and hard about it. Think about Ford, also, and the ways that it is working to help you cope with your smallness with cars that drive themselves and fancy trucks that pull heavy things (though never the heaviest of all things—the burden of being).
Thank you, Ford.
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