Panasonic Lumix: because nothing is art anymore.

An admittedly funny spot (“How did you compensate for the diminished light?” “Very well. Thank you.”), Panasonic plays up the generations-old stereotype of all art snobbery as wine-sniffing receptions to admire the emperor’s fancy new robes.

And while I’d like to not get huffy about the simplemindedness of these phony photography aficionados, I would like to point out the evident divide between the self-made artist and the DIY trend as idealized posterchild for the lazy and unimaginative. It’s not unlike the divide between one who explores one’s own self-beauty versus the ads that over-stylize body types and lead to harmful societal disorders like bulimia and The Situation. We can remodel iconography of desired outer image with both Photoshop and satire, as Panasonic has done.

So the self-made artists who are striving for gallery showings can roll their eyes at the 30-second suggestion that any jerk with a black leather jacket, non-prescription glasses, and a Panasonic Lumix can turn a colorless snapshot of a dog shaking the cliché out of its fur into a breathily discussed work of ground-quaking art. And those who just want to spend $300 so they don’t have a bunch of blurry, pixellated cell phone photos, can have a quick chuckle and a subtle reminder that “hey, I hear Lumix is a pretty nice little camera for the money.”

One other element of note in this artist/concept-of-artist divide is the reversal of elitism. Our strawman artists in this ad are so elitist as to abuse their powerful intellect and pointy noses, and in turn, our Lumix-using protagonist dumbly takes the fall, only to have his ignorance prove to be his surprise winning quality. The silent narrator has framed us a classic underdog twist, and we, the middle classes with the middle-minds, are happy to feel our own sense of average elitism (a hegemony of the mediocre?) overpower these Eugenic dickwads who are not just admiring and applauding the emperor’s non-existent gowns but are all, in essence, the emperor themselves.

One Comment

  1. Jillian wrote:

    The protagonist is charming indeed. I WOULD like to emulate that charm, if only for the real tolerance in him. Theater and ad trickery aside, I like to think that the mix of “I love doing this!” and “I just want to show you what I do!” is the charming combo we often lose. Upon losing one or both, douche baggery and/or utter snobbery often ensue.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Permalink




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