One of the underdiscussed aspects of the viral-superclip era is how it has given rise to what one might call brand delusion. In the hands of a less-than-self-aware marketer, the web video can morph from a simple promotional artifact into an exercise in reality-denial and/or-reconfiguration. You see it every day: "We view ourselves a certain way. If you don't, you're wrong and we're right and please like us on Facebook."
This half-assed notion reentered my mind upon receiving an email that commenced with the following clumsily punctuated flourish: "Sensuous, stimulating and hedonistic are three words that normally are not top of mind when describing water unless it's Perrier Sparkling Mineral Water." Huh. Isn't Perrier kind of the Diet Dr Pepper of snootypants bubble-water? I've never associated Perrier with high-society galas or topless throwdowns on Paul Allen's yacht; indeed, I wouldn't be surprised to see it on the drink menu at Pizza Hut.
That's why "The Drop," in which Perrier positions its aqua-vittles as thirst-sating supermodel nectar, is the most inadvertently silly brand video in months. In a single 119-second stretch, Perrier throws any number of wishful-thinking brand fallacies against the wall, hoping that one will stick. The clip posits that Perrier is the beverage of choice in the world's cushiest sitting rooms; that Perrier's appeal transcends race, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status; and that Perrier is without peer as mid-summer lubricant. That last one in particular kills me. Does Perrier do brisk business at beachside cafes around the globe? Has anyone ever seen a gym-goer reach for an icy Perrier after an intense workout? If you can present a scintilla of evidence that speaks to Perrier's utility as a cool-off beverage, please send it my way. I'm genuinely confused by this claim.
Anyway, the film - any video over 30 seconds in length now qualifies for categorization as "film," at least in the world of hysterical press releases - kicks off with the world on the brink of extinction, with some kind of super-sun about to fry civilized society to a crisp. This flaming destructo-orb cannot be tamed, liquefying lipstick in the process and prompting otherwise gallant Frenchmen to lower the knots on their neckties by one-eighteenth of an inch. Happily, there's potential salvation in the form of a supermodel cosmonaut who hitches a ride to space in a translucent pod.
As the camera lingers over scenes of heat-related unpleasantness – a stray beam setting a newspaper on fire, socialites and peons alike daintily mopping their dewy brows - our fearless protagonist zips her way into the stratosphere, an encased bottle of Perrier at her side. From afar, earth's inhabitants monitor every twitch of her excellently landscaped eyebrows, for it is she and she alone who can deliver them from broiler-pan misery.
When she arrives at the sun, the planet holds its collective breath. After a quick sashay down the space runway and some de rigueur hands-on-hips Frenchy supermodel insolence, she prepares to pour the Perrier on the seething orb… but thirst gets the best of her, as it often does when one is positioned mere inches away from a 64 kajillion megajoule fireball. As the good, sweaty people of the world watch in disbelief, our gal gulps the Perrier greedily. Ah, but a stray drop lingers on her lip; when she flicks it onto the surface of the sun, it makes everything better and the sun de-heatifies and everybody hugs and cheers and oh what a happy day it is.
So yeah, the unlikely pairing of Perrier and time-compressed space travel should prove a real balm when the mercury rises this weekend. Adjust your plans accordingly.