Class Picture (Or, My Big Fat Ayala Cock)

08 Dec 2010 (Wed) at 3:21 am Leave a comment

Ayala Land Premier: The Man

The Man who has everything. Look at his stuff, isn't it neat? Wouldn't you think his collection's complete?

Park Terraces (Cinema Ad)
Client: Ayala Land Premier
2010

I’m not sure what’s more offensive about this advertisement. That it cheapens photography as an elitist hobby? That it unabashedly flaunts the accumulation of wealth? That it makes chauvinism look cool? Probably all of the above.

Ayala Land Premier’s commercial for its new Park Terraces project looks very swanky at first. Beautiful cinematography, subdued tones, attractive play of light and shadow, panoramas and depth of field. Sushal. Akala mo first world na ang Pilipinas. Or at least, mukhang Singapore. Ayala Land Premier, after all, is the high-end arm of one of the nation’s largest real estate developers, Ayala Land. “With Ayala Land Premier, Ayala Land strengthens its distinction as the first, full-line real estate developer to meet the need of discerning homeowners, creating new lifestyles and appointing prime addresses.” Discerning homeowners meaning choosy na mga mayayaman, new lifestyles meaning gentrification.

The Park Terraces commercial is clearly created to appeal to young patriarchs. The pressed shirts in the closet suggest a wealthy corporate type. The voice of the advertisement is male. The bearer of the gaze from whose lens we see “the picture” of life is male, and quite appropriately, a photographer. “The camera becomes the mechanism for producing… an ideology of representation that revolves around the perception of the subject,” says Laura Mulvey in her seminal (pun intended) essay. “The camera’s look is disavowed in order to create a convincing world in which the spectator’s surrogate can perform with verisimilitude.” True enough, the lead character is a simple yet dapper Asian man whose face is barely visible, presumably so the viewer/surrogate can easily put himself in the character’s place and complete this verisimilitude.  (The Asian man, coupled with the futuristic yet lonesome scenery, vaguely recalls Tony Leung in 2046.)

Ayala Land Premier: The Male

The male: center and owner of the universe.

The commercial capitalizes on photography on various levels. By playing with reflections and soft focus, its actual photography makes the sleek yet cold interiors appear complex, artsy and cozy. Its script meanwhile, relies heavily on photography jargon to sound elite, profound, and ultimately, sushal. The dramatic delivery of the lines, however, cannot mask the utter baloney they call a script:

What makes a perfect picture? It’s in the richness of each detail, a marriage between disjointed pieces. Or the play of light, or behind the shadow, reveal something hidden, secret. Perhaps it’s in the symmetry, the congruence of elements that in turn produce harmony. Or it’s simply the alchemy of color that touches the eye and draws the mind. Or it’s all these things, and more. For this is the picture of my life. What does yours look like?

Upon reading, the lines don’t make any sense at all. There’s even a problem with subject/verb agreement: “congruence… produce.” Ah, the things you can get away with as long as you say them nicely.

There is also a very evident albeit subtle motif in the 45-second commercial: the phallus. It’s everywhere. There is the man who, of course, possesses a real one. Then we see him toying with his various lenses (including a Hasselblad, the photographic equivalent of a big cock in a locker room of insecure Canons and Nikons). Then we see details of his apartment like a jar cover knob, faucets and a pan handle. Then we see skyscrapers, fountains gushing foam, and a long, shiny steel spout. The commercial ends with a shot of the Park Terraces tower, glowing white and erect against the night sky. It’s a Freudian festival.

 

Ayala Land Premier - Phalluses

Phalluses galore.

The interesting thing is that not only is wealth portrayed as phallic, but the man’s family, shown at the end of the commercial, is perceived as an extension of this phallus. The “perfect picture” is a man who has it all: high-end cameras, a posh apartment, corporate employment, and the cherry on top, a beautiful wife and happy kids. Indeed, females appear in the commercial only as the patriarch’s property, with no other existence outside of the man’s ownership.

Even after centuries of struggle against a class society and for gender equality, there remains a lot to do. The world hasn’t changed much, it seems. (If there’s been any change, it is that the privilege of accumulating private property and exploiting the lower classes has been extended to women as well.) Ayala Land Premier’s Park Terraces commercial shows that it’s always sunny, as Abba said, in what is still a rich man’s world.#

 

Ayala Land Premier: The Females

The females: private property.

Ayala Land Premier: The Skyscraper

The last shot: skyscraper as phallus.

Entry filed under: Advertising, Edgar Allan Paule, Filipino films, Short films. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Corporate Manifesto Moneymaking

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Viewer Discretion is Ours

This is a blog focusing on (but certainly not limited to) Philippine cinema and visual culture. Spoilers are to be expected in the reviews. That's pretty much it.

Discrétions Archivées

View Us Elsewhere

Viewer Discretion is a proud contributor to Sinewaya

Viewer Discretion is a proud contributor to Sinewaya, a film blog from the Philippines featuring critical essays on film, media and society.

Yup, View Us Elsewhere

Edgar Allan Paule is a proud spinner on Hang the DJ

Edgar Allan Paule is also a contributor to Hang the DJ, a Filipino music blog for music lovers and by music lovers.

Ask me a question!

I'm on http://www.formspring.me/edgarallanpaule. Interrogate me, dude.

Viewer’s Viewers

Facebook Discretion

Edgar Allan Paule

Create Your Badge

I'm online once in a while, and I need new friends! Add me up! :-)

Enter your email address to subscribe to Viewer Discretion and receive notifications of new posts by email.


%d bloggers like this: