Thursday, January 3, 2008

Follow Up: "It's the mirrors." The Origin

Following my entry about the Texas Instruments DLP Commercials with the little girl and the magic box (I still feel funny writing that description), my brother linked me to a commercial on YouTube. Apparently it is the first one in the series, or at least acts like it is. It was posted on February 7th, 2002.

The ad starts with the girl and the elephant in the middle of a field. The elephant hands her the box. Well, he more trunks her the box, but you get the idea. It still doesn't really make any sense though. There is no explanation as to the relationship between the girl and the elephant. Were they playing in the field and the elephant discovered the box? Is the elephant the keeper of the box? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

On a positive note, the girl and the elephant interact. When she first opens the box, he does whatever sound an elephant does. Then later, in her rant of amazement at "something so small with so many mirrors", she says she has never seen anything like it and asks the elephant "Have you?". He scratches his head with his trunk. So, we know he's not imaginary now. It's a start.

What I want to know is when this commercial first aired. It was posted on YouTube in February, but I'd never seen it before, and I watch a lot, a lot, of TV. The decision making of the Texas Instruments marketing team baffles me. If you're going to run such an advertisement series, if you're going to create any series, the origin is the most important part of the story. We need to know that the little girl is sharing her curiosity with the world rather than just being magically creepy. We need to know that there's something in the box besides magical light (rather it's a magical "something so small with so many mirrors"). Also, it took me about five views to even realize that the elephant might be handing her the box, and a few more views to confirm it. Isn't that interaction kind of important? "Honey, why is there an elephant following you?" "I don't know. He hasn't left me alone ever since he gave me this magic box."

I would suggest, however, that the origin story here is not a sufficient explanation. I want to know more about the elephant. I want to know why she wanders to such desolate places. I want to know why people listen to her. Is it the pink dress? Is it the magic box? Is it the elephant? Oh, that's right, "It's the mirrors."

Here's hoping that for a Super Bowl ad Texas Instruments delivers us a prequel about the little girl in the pink dress, the magic box, and the elephant.

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