What: A cinematic commercial that feels laughably disconnected from what it’s meant to promote.
Who: Subway, and the production company Stink.
Why we care: What even is an ad anymore? Is it a feeling? A manifesto? Am I an ad?
Perhaps all an ad needs to be is something that gets your attention and leaves an impression, by any means necessary. Whether the ad offers any actual enticement for the product at hand matters not. As the saying goes, “The fact that we’re even talking about it means it worked.” (Extra points if you say that koan in a way that suggests you just invented it.)
So here we are, at the end of history, with a Subway ad seemingly about everything in the world except sandwich artistry.
Honestly, it’s like the movie Boyhood if it were directed by Terrence Malick: beautiful cinematography and texture with a keen interest in the inexorable march of time. Getting hungry yet?
The ad came to our attention via a tweet from video director Ryan Simmons, and it quickly began baffling all who came into contact with it. (For a good time, read the replies.)
got another capitalism greatest hit. i will give you one hundred thousand dollars if you can guess the brand by the end pic.twitter.com/bwfJJLabg4
— Ryan Simmons (@rysimmons) June 27, 2019
The ad originally appeared in the Brazilian market in 2016, before its rediscovery today. Even if we here in America had spent the totality of the last three years with the ad in heavy rotation, it’s doubtful any of us would have figured out just what the miracle of life, the pain of heartbreak, and the thrill of wanderlust have to do with $5 footlongs.