Monday, November 28, 2011

Say It Ain't So, J.Lo

Jennifer Lopez in "My World" for the Fiat 500.
The website The Smoking Gun seemed surprised to learn that Jennifor Lopez did not actually visit the Bronx to film her "My World" commercial for the Fiat 500.  The site reported that a body double drove the little Italian car through the Bronx, while J.Lo's closeups were filmed in the car in Los Angeles.

Bloggers also seemed surprised and insulted that Jenny didn't go back to the Block for filming the commercial, during which she praises her old neighborhood for inspiring her music.

The surprise surprises me.

Just another night on the town.
No one seems outraged at the latest Fiat commercial, "Elegance," which features Lopez in a sexy evening gown driving through "Manhattan" in the black Gucci special edition of the Fiat 500.  No one calls "foul!" on the idea that she drives herself to an event and parks at the curb.  No one is outraged that she is not shown being swarmed by TMZ vultures.

I put "Manhattan" in quotes because the commercial could be a mashup of downtowns from New York City and Los Angeles.  For instance, the top of the Chrysler Building is featured in one shot to clearly communicate New York City.  But I think a shot of Lopez closing the sun roof includes the top of the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles in the background.  (Non-Angelenos would know this as one of the iconic buildings zapped by the aliens in Independence Day.)

Lopez arriving at AMA rehearsals.  Fiat in the trunk?
No one seems upset that Lopez almost certainly does not drive a Fiat 500 anywhere other than a film set.  I have not learned how much Fiat paid her to endorse their venture into the American car market, but American Idol is paying her about $12 million to be a music judge.  Do you think she drives an Italian mini priced at around $22,000?

Lopez appeared in the broadcast of the American Music Awards -- along with a Fiat 500 on the stage with her, but her actual ride to the rehearsals was a Bentley, which probably cost $200,000 or more.

So why the surprise that elements of her Bronx homage are an illusion?  Television commercials are at least 50 percent illusion.  Do we truly think bears use toilet paper?  Do we truly think those corporations who sell their products through patriotic appeals are patriotic?  Do we believe the milk being poured on cereals in TV commercials is actually milk?  It isn't.

And speaking of milk, a "Got Milk?" commercial from early 2011 features Susan Sarandon in her "home" talking about the nutritional value of milk as she puts away toys.  How humble!  How warm!  How motherly!  But her youngest son is now about 20 years old.  I doubt his school backpack is in the den floor.  I doubt he left his skateboard out for his mother to put away.  I doubt he plays with a youth-sized basketball (in the basket where Sarandon puts the skateboard).  In other words, I really doubt Sarandon's home is featured in the commercial.  The commercial is a cinematic ploy to create pleasant associations between viewers and the product.  And no one complained then about that commercial's pleasing deceptions.  So why would people complain about Lopez's?

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