Welcome to the 1st installment of “Hello, What Are You Hiding?” I’ll be using this space to deconstruct Chinese advertising. “Deconstruct” is big, scary word, but all it means is analyzing something to discover what is either intentionally or unintentionally hidden.
In a world where tablets and smartphones are slowly turning the PC into the next Smith Corona, Intel is fighting for relevance. Their weapon of choice is the Ultrabook, an ultra thin & light PC that has better than you’d expect from a PC battery life.
Chances are, if you watched the NBA Playoffs you probably noticed that Intel really, really cares about their new Ultrabook. Evidence? They ran this ad (see below) 47 Billion Times.
What is the ad saying?
Well this is actually pretty simple. If you have an Ultrabook you can do computer things for a very long time without plugging it in. And you know how competitive it gets when you’re looking for a socket at Starbucks. This all adds up to….portability. Just like a tablet, the Ultrabook is ultra portable.
What is the ad hiding?
Intel is trying very, very hard not to say 2 things in this delightful kung fu romp.
1) Computers suck at this point.
Let’s be honest. No one is excited about computers, unless it’s an apple with a “Retina” display. By using an absurd, over-the-top scenario to describe a very small benefit (no plug, no love) Intel is desperately trying to make yesterday’s news relevant again. Let’s just say the desperation shines through.
2) There’s some serious male chauvinism going on here.
Ok Intel, I don’t think you hate women or anything, but I do think the spot highlights some of the subtle and not so subtle ways men dominate Chinese society. First of all, the two female protagonists are reduced to cattish kung fu sexpots desperately scrambling for a plug (um I could get Freudian here, but I’m going to refrain). They duke it out for a while but are totally shamed by this demure lady-like waif who totally doesn’t need a plug because she’s using an Ultrabook (with very long battery life).
The ad ends with a wizened old sage offering up a summary that carries the moral authority of something like a sportscaster. He thinks the 2 cattish girls have “真丢人” (lost face). So if you’re a woman and you’re using a computer, you’d better be ready to be judged by some old dude with wispy mustache wearing a silk robe.
Intel, thank you very much for playing. Actually I really like some of your campaigns.