Dec. 8 WEEKENDER: Second Opinion – LeBron James, smartphones and crass commercialism

There are some things wrong with a smartphone ad featuring Miami Heat basketball star LeBron James.

Editor’s note: The above video is the original, one minute and 30 second smartphone commercial, as opposed to the shorter one mentioned in the column.

One of the latest smartphone ads on TV is a wonderful illustration of how the high-minded technology companies have been won over to the dark side of crass commercialism.

LeBron James, professional basketball superstar for the Miami Heat, and his family demonstrate a new smartphone’s capabilities (Samsung Galaxy) by showing how LeBron’s son can take a picture of LeBron with the phone and then quickly scribble a red wig on the image.  Everyone laughs.

That is how the ad ends. Before that point however, LeBron had poured a multi-pastel-coloured, puffy cereal into his six and eight-year-old sons’ bowls and told them, in order to not be late for school to, “Hurry, eatch y’all food.”

It isn’t particularly crass that a famous personality was used to pitch the phone.

Advertisers have used that strategy for generations. It’s that the commercial’s creators, in this case, have used LeBron to make less than admirable parental behaviour seem common and acceptable.

Every nutritionist, health agency and medical practitioner has been trying to get parents to provide healthy breakfasts for their children, yet multi-millionaire LeBron is shown happily pouring something that looks like little candies into his kids’ bowls and telling them to eat it quickly.

The commercial could just as easily have shown him giving them something healthy, but it didn’t. It targeted those parents who likewise serve up Sugar Puffs in order to make them feel better about themselves and therefore the advertiser.

And while every educator, social scientist and parenting guru has been trying to encourage parents to read regularly to their children and model standard English, LeBron tells his kids to “Eatch y’all food.” It isn’t that we don’t know what LeBron means. It’s just that, though he is sending his boys off to school to acquire language skills, he apparently sees no reason to reinforce those skills at home himself.

His own choice of words can hardly be more basic; “Eatch y’all” is vague and lazy and may mean “both of you eat” or “Eat all of your,” or possibly both. He doesn’t even use “cereal” or “breakfast;” he just calls what they are eating “food.”

Of course, LeBron and his family have no artistic control over the content of the commercial; they just do what they are told and get a huge whack of dough.

The advertiser dictates every syllable spoken and the content of every camera shot. It is the phone manufacturer who wants parents to see the ad and conclude that they can be content modelling sloppy language and poor eating habits for their kids.

And out of gratitude for making them feel so content, perhaps they would like to buy a phone?

– Jim Holtz is WEEKENDER columnist and former reporter for the Grand Forks Gazette

Just Posted

Grand Forks council denies pot shop for Weeds Glass & Gifts

The company owns two buildings in the city and is currently renting one to a competitor

Warming centre has until July 31 to vacate 7500 Donaldson Dr.

The landlord of the building sent a letter to operators earlier in July

Christina Lake homecoming welcomes all to the party

Tenth annual homecoming celebrates founders, volunteers and lakers

Residents push Grand Forks council to support with flood buyouts

Staff estimate a $6.6 million difference between pre and post-flood value for Grand Forks buyouts

Boundary District Arts Council folds amid financial questions

The last board took over in November and could not find receipts for $8,000 in spending

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Most Read