If humor is the good-natured side of a truth, then the Mexican avocado commercial that aired during last night’s Super Bowl delivered a double dose of both — with a side of spicy guacamole.
I’ll set the scene: A group of aliens (one, notable, with a fish-like head) are touring an exhibit of 21st century Earth artifacts.
They pass by a display of passengers crammed in an airline seat.
Alien docent: “Now this, apparently, was a 21st century torture device.”
Green alien museum guest: “How long would they keep them strapped in there?”
Alien docent: “Sometimes hours at a time.”
Fish alien visitor [in background] VOMITS.
Alien docent: “Pretty gruesome.”
The fish alien losing his lunch. Get it? Even the sardine can’t handle the seats.
Here’s the entire ad, which contains a few more zingers.
Interestingly, there’s no mention of the glories of the free market that made these coach class seats possible. Perhaps there wasn’t time for it. Or maybe there is no unfettered, laissez-faire capitalism in the future imagined by the ad agency. Who knows?
Here’s the interesting thing: When the size of coach class seats — or, to be more specific, the lack of size — has worked its way into our popular culture, alongside the Rubik’s Cube and Scott Baio, then, Houston, we have a problem.
I pondered the extent of the issue as I studied the display. It looks like a 31-inch pitch on an older airline seat. The woman in the first row is leaning back slightly, removing the tall guy’s leg room. He’s sitting ramrod straight, but wearing a headset to block the screaming baby behind him. Why doesn’t he lean back? He would crush the infant if he did.
Some of you look at this and you see the greatness of air travel. You see passengers who otherwise couldn’t afford to fly being given a ticket in the sky, thanks to a deregulated airline industry.
Others will see it differently. To you, this is a greedy industry raking in record profits at the cost of our personal comfort. To you, this is legalized waterboarding.
What do I think? It doesn’t matter. The problem of substandard economy class seats has crossed a line, from an industry problem to a cultural phenomenon. The avocado commercial is the first of what will surely be many more jokes being made at he expense of the airline industry.
Maybe it will be enough to persuade airlines to do the right thing and to give us some of our room back.
But what do I know? I’m just a consumer advocado.