If Firefighters Ran Congress
Number one on the list of TV commercials that make me cringe: Nextel shows us what it would be like if firefighters ran Congress:
One firefighter stands at the head of Congress saying, “Here’s a bunch of papers telling us we need clean water. You want clean water?”
Congress full of firefighters: “Aye.”
Ho, ho. Those firefighters sure can get things done fast, can’t they? None of this namby pamby rambling on over negotiations and hearings and procedures. If you want clean water, you just have a bunch of firefighters say “Aye”, and then the country gets clean water. You don’t need to read reports by scientists. You don’t have to have a plan. Forget the details. Gridlock gone! Water cleaner! Next problem!
The little hitch in all this is that having a bunch of people in Congress say “Aye” doesn’t make water cleaner. There are a lot of issues related to water pollution, and they need to be considered carefully. A plan for dealing with water pollution nationwide is an inherently complex thing.
This commercial insults the job of Congress, and in doing so, it insults the Constitution of the United States, and the voters who actually care about their country beyond the simpleton’s level of thinking, “Huh. I want clean water. Give me clean water.” The commercial insults firefighters too, suggesting that they have don’t have enough intelligence to see beyond an animal’s grunting level of problem solving.
Besides those real world problems, how does the commercial actually convince firefighters to buy heavy duty cell phones? The idea, I suppose, is to communicate the idea that Nextel heavy duty phones get the job done without any unnecessary hassle.
The problem is that the firefighter message isn’t at all connected to the pitch for the Nextel heavy duty phones. We get the firefighter scene, and then, there’s a 3 or 4 second statement showing a Nextel phone, telling us to buy one. The pitch for the phone is visually and conceptually distinct from the firefighters in Congress, as if it’s a separate commercial. A person might think that a political action group funded the first part, and Nextel the second part.
Dumb. Politically dumb. Motivationally dumb. If advertising agencies ran Congress, would the Representatives be able to concentrate for longer than 30 seconds?