Monday, February 12, 2007


GM ran an ad during the Super Bowl about a clumsy robot that lost its job on the assembly line and then tried to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. As it turned out it was all a dream, but it served as a warning for the robot to do better on the job because GM has a high standard of perfection.

Except when it comes to making commercials.

The blipvert bleeped off suicide prevention advocates, but GM refused to budge on the matter. And they started hearing from their own laid-off human workers and that's when they realized the commercial was sending out the wrong message. As Brad Linder pointed out in, sympathies lay with the robot, not the corporation and it made people think about the thousands of actual people who lost their jobs to be replaced by the heartless bleeps at GM.

Not wanting to put a spotlight on the problems of the industry (especially within their own corporation), GM announced that they would pull the ad to "retool" it.

They'll probably get a robot to do it.

No matter what happens - They could even yank it altogether! - it doesn't change a thing for Toobworld. Having already been broadcast, the commercial is now a part of television history.

But luckily, any revisions can also be incorporated into Toobworld, and there would be no conflicts. That's because it will always remain a dream.

We all have recurring dreams, right? Where we play chess with Honest Abe Lincoln and have lunch with a talking beaver? (Well, the guy in the Rozerem ad does, anyway.) No matter the subject matter, the basics remain the same; it's the details that keep changing. (Check out the "Shadow Play" episode of 'The Twilight Zone' for a nightmarish example.)

So when/if the GM ad does come back with a nip/tuck, it will just be the third in a series of bad dreams for that robot.

That's right, it would be the third dream. Thanks to 'The Daily Show', that robot has already had its second dream. In a "news" story a couple of nights after the Big Game, 'The Daily Show' allowed us to see another of its dreams - this time, the robot put a gun against its head, pulled the trigger, now it's dead.

With dreams like that, I wouldn't be surprised if the robot wets its bed, to boot!

Do you remember how the Energizer Bunny ads began? Some rival battery company was already using the imagery of battery-operated drum-beating bunnies to illustrate the long life of their product. Energizer came along and usurped the concept and ran with it to brand it as their own.

And the sock-puppet puppy was probably collecting unemployment when 1-800-BAR-NONE came along to rescue it for a new series of ads, for a new product altogether.

I'm thinking that some other company should do the same thing with the assembly line robot. Maybe the aforementioned Rozerem, or Lunesta - show the robot having trouble getting to sleep because of its bad dreams and so it uses the product to get a safe and restful eight full hours of sleep, sleep, sleep.

Or better yet - since there'll always be some dweeb like me out there questioning how does a robot take pills - maybe the robot should use a Serta Perfect Sleeper mattress or a Sealy to get some Zzzzzzz's, thus putting some sheep out of work once more.

And then we could see if androids really do dream of electric sheep.


No comments: