Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Is Blade V. a real person?
The goal in any television commercial featuring "real" customers is to prove that they are really real.
Netflix seems to have taken this goal to extreme levels.
I find myself fixated on a recent Netflix commercial featuring testimonials from four "real" customers -- a young woman, a young man, and a young couple. I can take the quotation marks off of "real," probably, because it would seem that this particular group of people has to be real.
The young woman's name? Larissa C.
The young couple's names? Jacob R. and Cia C.
The young man's name?
That's right, it's not the fifth movie in the Blade franchise. It's a late teenager whose first name is Blade, and last name starts with the letter V.
Has anyone else noticed this other than me?
Netflix has millions of real customers to choose from, yet they chose a guy whose first name is Blade. So he's gotta be real, right?
It's just a funny choice. Sure, you want the viewer to have the sense that these are real people, not actors hired to spew positive raves about the company. So no, you don't want your customers to be named John D. or Jane D. You want the names to be a little bit quirky.
Larissa certainly qualifies. Cia certainly qualifies. Jacob is a good everyman name, but not as everyman as John or Bill or Steve.
The kid named Blade sticks out. It's probably too real.
Sure, there are undoubtedly parents out there who named their kid Blade. Blade V.'s parents would be two such examples. But I don't know anyone named Blade, and I'm betting you don't know anyone named Blade. I'm betting most people don't know anyone named Blade.
Why is this a problem? Well, because I noticed it. Because I'm writing a blog post about it. Which means that Netflix has inadvertently caused me to consider the legitimacy of these "real" customers more than I should.
Because it could be a case of Netflix going so far out of its way to prove that Blade V. is a real person, that our only choice is to conclude that he is not a real person. If you were employing actors and making them pretend to be real Netflix customers, the best way to throw us off the scent is to give one of them a name that's so weird that it could not possibly be fake.
Better to just choose someone other than Blade V. to pimp your product. Then I'm not even writing this post.
My guess? Blade V. is a real person, and he was chosen as a favor to Mr. or Mrs. V. Maybe V stands for VIP, and Blade and his family are considered very important to someone involved in the Netflix advertising department.
If you're out surfing today and you see Blade V. mounting his board on the adjacent wave, tell him I said hello.