The evidence for the above statement is shown in Nabisco’s new “Air Crisps”
commercial that uses both comedy and sex appeal in an attempt to pull consumers. The
45-second spot features two average men, and three attractive women. The women are
eating “Cheeze Puffs,” while the men are eating New, Improved Cheese Air Crisps. The
men stare in obvious attraction to the women, until one of the women wipes her hand on
the seat of her pants. The bright orange stain evident, the men lose interest, because their
Air Crisps do not leave such a residue.
There are a variety of shots used to accentuate the basic ideas of the commercial,
which are the physical attributes of the women, as well as the attraction (and disattraction)
that the men feel. The commercial starts with a long Point-of-View (POV) Shot of the
three walking women, and then a dissolve to show a medium shot of the first attention that
the men give. There is then a cut to the ladies, closer this time, showing they do not notice
the men. Then it goes to another medium shot of the men looking at the women, holding
their bag of Air Crisps. In an evidence of sex appeal, the shot closes in to the first
woman’s bag of “Cheeze Puffs”, but the only other thing that is quite visible is the
woman’s left breast. She moves a hand into the shot, and takes a puff out. She moves it to
her face and munches slowly. There is a dissolve to a POV Shot of the women towards
the men, as it dollies closer to them. Then it dissolves to another POV Shot, this time the
opposite direction, as the woman keeps chewing her puff. One of the men stare
dumbfounded in the next shot, a closeup. It cuts to a POV of him watching them. Then,
the three models are again shown in a side POV through a dissolve. The shot now cuts to
the first woman again, who moves her hand to her seat. Then, the shot dissolves to a
closeup of the two men, as they see what is in the next shot, the woman’s “Cheeze Puffs”
stain on her pants. That then cuts to a perfect closeup of the Air Crisps box, which the
man finds is not sticky like the woman’s puffs. Their approval (a medium shot) is shown
after the next dissolve. Finally, there is a cut to the final, long shot, where the men move
their hands to their seat in much the same involuntary motion, as they walk off.
This commercial uses more than one method in its attempt to gather a following.
The tone of the commercial (the “dream girl” scenario) is humorous, as is the men walking
away “from opportunity” once the stain is shown. Sex appeal is the most subliminal here,
and not only in the worn-out cliche of the women walking past the men, in the name of full
body perusal. There was the earlier shot of the first woman’s breast. Also, the side POVs
all show as much of all three women as possible. The camera lingers for at least three
seconds (a long time for a commercial) on the first woman chewing the puff, as well as
scratching her seat. The men also have looks on their faces that add to the sex appeal of
the three women.
Is it successful in its pleas? I would say no off hand, but someone who is more
susceptible to such ploys may fall for it. In a commercial that tries to show the upbeat-ness
of the snack food, the commercial passes for premise, but fails in practice.