Is George Clooney THE American. Well, literally yes if you take into account the 2010 film title. But, there’s more.
Somebodyisfromhere.com hadn’t been abroad in a few years so
it was a mixed feeling when the first thing he saw in the Paris airport was a picture of George Clooney in an ad for chocolate or coffee or chocolate coffee. On one hand, hey, that’s comforting, it’s relatable, maybe this place isn’t too different than ours? On the other hand, Somebodyisfromhere.com spent a lot of money on this trip. It better be different!
Since those initial moments the trip has been different. The views have been magnificent and the languages have been hard to comprehend. For example, in Lausanne Switzerland they speak French.
Somebodyisfromhere.com doesn’t speak French. He’s trying to get by on sort of a polite Jerky Boys over the phone routine. Which is to say, he memorizes ten phrases and just interchangeably responds to conversations with the best possible one. “Voila,” for example, works much better than you would possibly imagine. Your food has arrived? Voila, merci.
Meanwhile, in Zuirch, where Somebodyisfromhere.com spent the weekend, they speak German first. He’s seen it explained that in Zurich they speak English second and French third.
That being the case, it’s not unusual for a store name to be in English, but then once inside the employees don’t speak English. Somebodyisfromhere.com saw an art exhibit with an English title and a description in German.
So basically Somebodyisfromhere.com’s sloppy interactions in Zurich went basically like this: merchant greets him in German, he responds in English, merchant responds in English, he thanks them in French as if to meet them in the middle and because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
It’s in this general state of overwhelmedness that Somebodyisfromhere.com came across his second George Clooney ad. This time it was on a poster for watches. And by then the familiar face of George Clooney was a welcome sight.
While abroad, Somebodyisfromhere.com hasn’t really seen many Americans in ads. He’s seen American shows (Malcolm in the Middle, Family Guy) dubbed in the Swiss languages. He’s seen ads for upcoming performances by Americans (Pamela Anderson in Zurich!).
However, only George is used in a straight up ad (This might not have been a comprehensive search).
Somebodyisfromhere.com wonders what that says? Does he represent European’s view of Americans? Or Is he the only American they find redeemable?
What if he represents the European view of Americans? In the ads, he’s debonair while dressed in a tux. He is also somewhat playful as if uncomfortable with the attention.
Beyond the ads, part of why Clooney was probably selected is that he is successful by whatever bench marks you might try to set (box office, awards, wealth). He is also considered a fairly decent guy.*
It’s interesting to note that if an Americans wanted to find somebody who was debonair, humble, successful, and decent we would probably try to get … somebody British. (2014 Update: Clive Owen and Idris Elba are hocking different products on one Philadelphia bridge.)
Yet, when the Swiss want all of those things, they got an American.
That’s not half bad.
Unless they think he is the only redeemable one.
*This probably would have been the time to get into politics, but Somebodyisfromhere.com thought that’s a different point. Yeah, Clooney
is a fairly big Democrat and, sure, many people resent him for it, but that’s a
bit of an over reach for a reason to put him in an ad a gazillian miles away.