Corporations enjoy a legal status that entitles them to some of the protections granted to individuals. They also resemble individuals on another level, at times going to great lengths in the hope of attracting attention and ultimately fame. A colorful and elaborate advertisement by Havaianas, an international sandal company, couldn’t be more desperate in this regard, although it must be said that the cinematic spectacle provides comic relief regardless of intent.
Center stage we find a dashing couple. He stares intently at his damsel in distress as she turns to us, sharing her allure. His sweaty, chiseled body exudes virility but adds a dash of the urbane with a tilted fedora. Her red dress, nail polish, and lipstick match the flower in her hair, amplifying a symbol of feminine beauty. Behold the “Superhero Apprentices,” the “B-Movie Stars,” and “Tango Enthusiasts” that Havaianas suggests are as “Original as You.” But in the domain of consumerism, originality doesn’t end with individuals. It must extend into their possessions and environment as well. Let the show begin.
As if by the sheer force of their personalities, an otherwise modest interior explodes with quirky household items belonging to this dynamic duo in training. Light emanating beneath the floorboards gives the impression that the room has actually taken off like a spaceship. The door rips from its hinges; cupboards swing open; a vintage egg beater and telephone fly through the air. A giant plastic head with glowing eyes, presumably a fallen art object, takes us from the kinetic to the carnivalesque. Sparklers invoke electricity, adding splashes of color to an image that borders on psychedelic. Here, a levitating robot; there, a luminous dog. All this and more for the sake of promoting… flip flops.
In a materialistic world, originality must be eclectic and highly visible. Is it any wonder that the value and relevancy of objects are often distorted in order to drive sales? As the United States manufactures less and less on home soil, the production of artificial needs seems to increase. How many things do we really need? And of the objects we desire, how many make a real difference in our lives? Despite competitive pricing, today’s sophisticated marketplace contains hidden costs, one of them being our growing ridiculousness.