Idris Elba has always had my attention, but even more so once he became a pitchman for the new Toyota Avalon. I’ve never thought so much about buying an Avalon until I saw the series of commercials featuring Elba. Not only is he pitching cars, so is John Legend. You can see this crooner tooling around in a Chevy Impala and I must admit he makes the car look mighty sexy.
The ad campaign is centered on “two legends” the legendary Chevy Impala and John Legend. I think that was pretty smart. This has become a popular trend because just last week I saw Nick Cannon pitching a Honda Civic. Now this is a good thing. I’m sure companies are realizing that Black and handsome can sell insurance, think Dennis Haysbert for Allstate or furniture, think Snoop Dog for Overstock.com or just about anything. Who doesn’t like Black and sexy? Just ask a Kardashian.
Haysbert is the official spokesman for Allstate Insurance Co. His commercials typically end with one of the two Allstate Corp. official slogans, either, “Are you in good hands?” or “That’s Allstate’s stand.” More recently, however, his commercials have combined the two with “That’s Allstate’s stand. Are you in good hands?” I think most watching the commercial just want to be in Haysbert’s hands.
Autoevolution.com made a snide remark, they want to know who is Nick Cannon and why is he pitching Honda’s cheapest car, the Civic? Their answer: Oh, he’s that guy who married Mariah Carey, despite being more than a decade younger than her. Cannon has it going on. Nick is also currently hosting his 8th season of “America’s Got Talent,” so you could say he really has made it big. I think Cannon is fine and these car companies have made it very difficult for me in selecting my next car.
Autoevolution.com also says only the Japanese could turn the humble compact car interesting, and Honda with their VTEC engines has some of the most energetic compacts in America. The refreshed 2013 Honda Civic represents the 9th generation of one of the company’s most popular and globally recognized products, interesting popular and globally recognized, just like Cannon.
I remember the days when my dad would call us to the television to see a fleeting image of a Black person. Now there are numerous Black spokespersons for major products. I must say I was quite amazed when I saw Snoop and his family in the commercial for Overstock.com. He appears to be buying stuff from his iPad for his house and is sitting in an “all white everything” living room. I understand that the goal of Overstock was to get people talking about the website. “Duh, isn’t that the goal of all companies and their television commercials?” The ad features one of Snoop Lion’s new songs, “The Good Good,” and the video even ends with Snoop saying, “Overstock.com… They got the good good.”
I think these diverse commercials are just another part of a 50-year-old dream and that’s a good thing.
(Email the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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