There are some fun Capital One commercials running on the NCAA Tournament this year featuring Spike Lee, Charles Barkley and Samuel L. Jackson. There’s a racial tinge to the spots which are kind of grown up or adult. It shows these very funny black comedic actors in various Texas locations/scenarios. In one they are shopping for cowboy clothes. In another they’ re out on the range riding horses, or in Spike’s case a donkey, singing Garth Brooks’ Friends In Low Places.
The actors are not uncomfortable, we are uncomfortable for them. (The Final Four is in San Antonio this year, hence the Texan themes.)
Did Capital One or their ad agency expect this little cultural incongruity in the advertising design? I think so. And I love it. It makes a statement, with a smile and is still good entertaining trade craft. It’s humorous. It’s thoughtful. It’s youthful. And a little bit discomfiting.
Any marketer that can take on race with humor and make us all a little embarrassed it’s still “a thing” is worth paying attention to. Capital One, putting on some big girl pants.