There’s a Nutella commercial on tv right now that grinds my effing gears. Click on the link to watch this domestic drivel, and then I’ll tell you why this commercial makes pure anger run through my veins.
Enraged? I wasn’t the first time I watched it, but then the commercial kept playing, and, instead of an innocent tv ad for this popular-in-Europe nut spread, I saw a full on assault to authentic character building in fiction writing and to husbands, fathers, and every family everywhere.
I’ll start with my fiction gripe.
These characters are so flat, so stereotypical that they are an affront to the full range of humanity good writers give their characters. These pasty white actors are the low-hanging fruit for all writers. My three-year-old niece could have written a commercial that offered better drawn characters than this. A stay-at-home mom fixing breakfast for her family, helping her daughter study for a state capitals test, and finding the backpack for her son and the blackberry for her husband. Are you kidding me? Isn’t it 2013? Why isn’t this looked at as an ironic nod to commercials of the 1950’s? Shouldn’t we be pushing some boundaries? Actually, weren’t these kind of boundaries knocked down in the ’60’s?
Another fear I have for a commercial like this looping endlessly on televisions all over our great country is that it waters down the story palates of Joe Six-Pack and Mrs. Six-Pack. If the characters in this Nutella commercial pass as acceptable characters to the masses, ambitious writers everywhere might be doomed. Commercials like this lead to the box-office success of unimaginative movies like A Good Day to Die Hard — a movie filled with cliches and characters acting like sad imitations of humans. It leads to vapid novels being grossly downloaded onto tablets. It leads to the demise of Western Civilization!
Maybe the last claim’s a stretch, but how can a hyper-suburban, bleached white, stereotypical commercial like this still be viable in the twentieth-first century? And if it is viable, what does that say about the state of humans and fictional characters?
Now on to my second gripe.
I’m a husband. Someday I hope to be a father. Why is it that the husband/dad in this commercial is such a dufus? Dad doesn’t help with breakfast? Dad doesn’t help the kids to study in the morning? And why doesn’t the wife say something when her husband says ‘good morning’? What a cold bitch! Does this married couple sleep in the same bed? Intimacy in this commercial is ne’er to be found.
Rewatch the end of the commercial when the wife hands her husband his blackberry. He walks across the threshold of his front door, turns, and just when you think he’s gonna lay one on her, she hands him a piece of whole grain bread lathered in Nutella. What a sad, sad picture of marriage and human intimacy.
The Nutella literally stands between this married couple. Instead of a meaningful kiss, here’s some Nutella. WTF indeed.
We need to demand more from pop-culture. We can’t let feeble representations of humanity and the family unit be acceptable in the twenty-first century.