Here’s What Happens When Real People Enter Those Commercials With “Real People”

It’ll be hard for anyone to take seriously those ads that feature “real people” in focus groups, after seeing this slightly altered version.

Here’s What Happens When Real People Enter Those Commercials With “Real People”

WHAT: One of those ads where supposedly real people learn the benefits of a product, except this time a more realistic “real” person is thrown into the mix.

WHO: The video jokesters at Zebra Corner.

WHY WE CARE: A fun game to play during commercials is Who Am I Supposed to Be? It’s very easy. All you need to do is try and figure out which of the people onscreen in any given ad is supposed to represent an idealized version of yourself reflected back to you. (Hint: It’s usually the cool and confident badass using Brand X.) The easiest way to suggest an audience surrogate, however, is with quote unquote real people. Some ads manufacture a focus group to show people like you lapping up all the benefits of Brand X. This video, however, features someone who behaves like an actual audience surrogate might. A possibly Bostonian everydude is inserted into a Chevy ad alongside a group of non-actors and a Chevy spokesperson. His answers to vapid questions about what he thinks of the car’s awards for “initial quality” take the air of unreality out of the original ad. Zebra Corner has made several videos showing how various contrived situations might actually go in real life, but this one might just be the most illuminating yet.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.



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