Commercial Analysis

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This is America

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Electric light is a fitting symbol for America. Without it far less is possible. Similarly, without political freedom (America), far less is possible also – including, not coincidentally, the creation of electric light. An American President once said that “the business of America is business”, and while that is true, it is highly abstract. This commercial brings it down to perceptual reality – as all good art should.

Businesses, big and small, and of all kinds and levels of ambition, depend upon electric light to increase their productivity. Just as they depend upon capital provided by banks, and the freedom protected by their government. This commercial brushes aside the tired anti-business notion that business and people are fundamentally at odds. It shows that just as the average person is motivated to get up and reap the benefits of his politically-free – and thus technologically advanced – society, so are big businesses such as Bank of America – in fundamentally the same exact manner.

This commercial dramatizes two very important – and very neglected – points: first, that “business” is nothing but a collection of individuals (united by their use of abstract impersonal things like political freedom and every day things such as electric light), and second, that what unites a country of free individuals – no matter their particular specializations – what makes them “Americans” – is not some mealy-mouthed collectivist slogans, but simply their individual desire to enjoy their own lives. The commercial proves that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the interests of individuals “competing” in a free market are actually quite similar and therefore harmonious. The piece concludes with the double entendre “This is America” – refering to both the bank and the nation; as if they were one and the same. In one sense – the sense that actually matters – this is literally true.


Written by commercialanalysis

October 9, 2010 at 6:49 am

Posted in Finance

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