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Monday, 17 November 2014

The finger on the (Opel) Mokka button


Opel is currently featuring former (or is that still) German super model Claudia Schiffer in its television commercials, with the 44-year-old "captivating (in Opel's own words) TV audiences around Europe with her chic ‘It’s a German’ ad' campaigns for the Opel Astra, Meriva, Mokka and Zafira Tourer."

Claudia Schiffer (screenshot Opel Mokka clip)

A pretty wise choice as Schiffer has more than a touch of class, elegance and intelligence to her, and Opel - the German subsidiary of the US car manufacturer General Motors - has its own very definite (German) identity and reputation for reliability and style.

And that's a point driven (ouch) home in the "It's a German" campaign.

The commercial for the Mokka is one that has been appearing frequently on French tellies.

Perhaps that's not a surprise as the market for subcompact crossover SUVs is a tough one and includes two "homemade" French models: the Peugeot 2008 and the Renault Captur.


Anyway, if you're not concentrating particularly during the 30-second spot, you could be forgiven for thinking that Opel is being intentionally "equivocal" while also relying on (and simultaneously breaking) gender stereotypes.

Because there's the matter of whose finger is really pressing the car's hill descent control button.

Finger on the button (screenshot Opel Mokka clip)

It's obvious really, but the lack of dialogue-action continuity could have you thinking otherwise.

The "plot" for the commercial runs along the following lines.

Schiffer pulls into the entrance of an underground car park.

A (smooth) male attendant chauvinistically asks (the of course blonde and by implication incapable) Schiffer whether she'll manage it down the ramp in her Opel Mokka.

"It's pretty steep," he tells her. "Maybe you need some help".

"OK," replies Schiffer. "Would you mind pressing that button."

It's at this point that a perfectly manicured and nail-lacquered index finger is seen pressing the hill descent control button with the attendant looking surprised as he steps away from the car and Schiffer accelerates down the ramp.

And this is where you might do a double take.

As Schiffer asked the attendant to press the hill descent control button as a way of "helping her" does that mean that he obliged and the finger belonged to him?

Of course not. But there's enough ambiguity of continuity and dialogue in the French clip to make you think (especially if you hadn't been paying attention) that...well, anything might be possible.

So a quick check on both the English and German  versions reveals exactly the same dialogue and that finger pressing...which, although of course it must be Schiffer's could just be (for those who wish car manufacturers would surprise viewers a little more often by breaking with the clichés) the attendant's...oder?

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