Droid Razr – Banned Commercial
The Droid Razr commercial shown here has been banned for obvious reasons. It begins with the phone (Razr) flying and cutting through various objects. It then moves on to a man in a wheelchair, four children and a man’s groin area while the rest of the people run away in a panic. Some people may find this humorous as was shown on the video comments on YouTube.com, and some found it violent and offensive.
The authors attempted to use violence as humour to sell their product based on the theory of incongruity. This theory states that laughter happens when two or more absurd or incongruous concepts are placed together and they can be illogical or even inappropriate (Scharrer, Bergstrom, Paradise & Ren, 2010). This works well with aggression because it unexpected and inappropriate; however in this particular commercial they go a little too far with the violence, so much so that it was banned. Another theory of aggression and humour that applies to this ad is Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. This states people laugh to release nervous energy and thus laugh at what makes them uncomfortable (Scharrer et al, 2010).
The authors assessed violent context associated with humorous messages in television commercials and the amount they found in their sample was over 80% (Scharrer et al, 2010). It being so common for aggression and violence to be funny, desensitized perceptions of violence can occur. This desensitization is observed through reduced arousal and reduced emotional disturbance in youth in Cantor, (2000).
The main message of this ad is to show how slim the phone is, which, being such a trivial concept paired with such intense violence, is not effective and rather absurd.
Cantor, J. (2000). Media Violence. Journal of Adolescent Health, 27, 30-34.
Scharrer, E., Bergstrom, E., Paradise, A. & Ren, Q. (2010). Laughing to Keep From Crying: Humor and Aggression in Television Commercial Content. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 50, 615-634.