“Traditional Cool”

The new Miller High Life ad is stacked with signs of vintage coolness:

The mise-en-scène evokes now yellowed and curling black and white photos of ’50s beat writers like Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady . . .

. . . or maybe shots from Robert Frank‘s collection, The Americans. The narrator is clearly imitating Johnny Depp’s Hunter S. Thompson monotone.

And then there is the music. Doesn’t it sound a whole lot like a slowed down instrumental version of the Velvet Underground‘s “I Can’t Stand It”?*

But all of these references to what was cool during the teen years of the parents, even grandparents of the current ad’s target demographic raises an important question:

Is “traditional cool” an oxymoron?

* Speaking of the VU, the so-called “Norman Dolph acetate” will soon be up for auction again. This one of a kind demo pressing was thought lost not long after being recorded in 1966, but showed up in a NYC flea market in 2002 for a whopping 75 cents. In 2006, it sold for $25,200.


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