So, I'm at my local gym here in eastern France, the TV screens up on the walls have a few different shows going. Innocuous stuff that I can ignore, mostly: Something old with Beverly D'Angelo, a Friends episode with French subtitles, the news. And then a commercial pops up on the Friends screen and within moments, I was all WHAT?!
I came home and found it on YouTube. You can watch it in its icky, offensive entirety here, but here's a short storyboard. Prepare yourselves.
A bunch of leather-clad men and women pose artfully in mountain mists. They seem to be Native Americans of some kind. You can tell because of the guy in the headdress in the middle.
A white guy dressed all in white rides up on a white horse.
He is observed by the models (excuse me, people) whose faces are painted in artistic, supposed-to-look-meaningful decorations (and, I suspect, heavy use of bronzers). They all carry fur-tipped spears, which have to be some of the softest, cuddliest spears in the world.
They watch his arrival impassively, as if they've been waiting for him. Or maybe they are just local model zombies who are unfussed about guys dressed in white in the wilderness whose clothing is suspiciously unbeflecked.
He gets off his horse, and INEXPLICABLY and with no provocation other than the passivity of the soft-speared folk before him, pulls out a thin foil, the kind one uses in fencing or when pretending to be Zorro, and starts waving it madly about like a maniacal concert conductor. The air is filled with stuff flying, it's hard to see what. His expression is goofy, his horse looks on like this is normal behaviour for this guy.
Then, the entire mountain group is revealed to have had their clothing cut to ribbons - now they are wearing jeans and strange fringed halter tops. No one even looks surprised or dismayed or insulted.
No, they all turn to pose sexily for the stranger in the white get-up. They don't even look pissed that this guy just rode up and cut all their clothes up, leaving them barefoot, in jeans and no tops, in the cold mountain air.
The horses on both sides look on in discreet horror.
No one is spared - women, men, all have had their clothes cut to pieces. Even the guy in the middle has had his headdress cut away. Also - all of them were armed with spears at the beginning. Now, all but one is disarmed. Huh. That was one mighty foil.
In the end, they gather around the white man, now dressed in evening black as befits a foil-wielding zombie creating devil man. He declares his name. Teddy Smith.
Maybe the torches are to burn him alive because the fur spears were useless? Maybe they're coming to get us as zombie fringed mountain mist people? Maybe the cultural appropriation and barely concealed racist implications have rendered them immobile and they can only be used as lanterns?
But since none of the people of the cut-up clothes ever change their expressions, it's hard to tell whether they feel happier wearing jeans and warpaint and bronzer, or violated.
In any case, I felt squicky after watching this ad. That wolf howling at the end of the ad might just have been my stomach crying for mercy. And I will never be buying Teddy Smith jeans, that's for sure.
On a side note, terrible music, too.