So my friends have pointed out to me that I'm now totally obsessed with the Heineken draught keg commercial (note: "draught" is pronounced "draft"), the one where the green robo-vamp displays the product to a techno tune. Yes, I did TiVO the commercial and watch it over and over and over and over again to try and figure out what about it made it so damn compelling to me.

Disclaimer: I'm not a Heineken drinker. I like a darker beer than that, maybe a nice fat creamy Guinness. The commercial did make me curious to try Heineken from the draught keg, but not curious enough to pay money for it, and so far no one I know has picked one up, so I have gone without. But the curiosity is mild, my real fascination being with the commercial itself.

I will attempt to deconstruct it in mind-numbing detail (so you don't even have to see it to know what I'm talking about) but in case that won't work, here's a link to a youtube of it, and here's another view with some analysis. The latter site also provides (or claims to provide) details on the responsible ad agency, and the people involved.

Now there are two components to this commercial, the music and the imagery (there is no narration or sound other than the music), and these are interwoven very well but can still be explained separately. The music is very much like Daft Punk, and I see from the messageboards that I'm not the only one who first thought this was a direct rip, or something DP had actually performed for Heineken. The lyrics go:

Futuristic
Futuristic delivery system
Draughtkeg innovation
H-E-I-N-E-K-E-N

Grip, tap, sip, gush, drip, drain, draught and drink
Innovative
draughtkeg
Heineken

These are delivered to a sort of techno beat, and the voices are clearly digitized, a bit higher of a pitch then I would have gone with, but the interesting thing to me is that that sequence of streaming words in the middle goes by too fast to catch everything in one sitting. Maybe they do that on purpose so people like me will be forced to watch over and over again and slowly be hypnotized into changing our beer preferences by the seductive beat.

The images basically are in the following sequence:

A green-skinned woman in a sort of aqua-colored layered plastic dress does a sort of Egyptian walks onto a stage, which is bottom lit with green lights. She makes me think of the green Orion slave girl from Star Trek, but more of an apple-green. Maybe they went with green to highlight her non-humanness, maybe to avoid referencing any particular race as the consumer of this product. It's pretty clear to me that they are cutting out some intermediate frames to make her movement appear alternately unhumanly choppy and unhumanly smooth.

She turns to face the viewer, and after a brief close up of her smiling to the viewer--and this is where it gets freaky--her torso opens up like a series of bifurcated slats being parted (these are the layers on her dress) showing the Heineken draught keg inside her belly (which is, apparently, refrigerated). The keg moves straight forward out of her abdomen, and she raises her right arm like she's doing the wave, and as she's raising it, a second, clearly robotic arm pops out a few inches below her arm on the same side.

At this point my eyes are bugging out. I could not have expected that. Same thing happens on her left side, so she's standing there with two normal arms and below them two robot arms outstretched. I wonder if the commercial makers debated giving her four normal arms, but decided that the robot arms would make more of a "futuristic" impression, or maybe that four normal arms would invoke the Hindu God, Kali. Anyway, these extra arms come in handy (pun intended) because she uses them to hold the keg while she shows how to tap it (probably making it look much easier than in real life).

Then she reaches for a glass, and her arm sort of detaches at the elbow and extends on piston-looking metal rods, also a "handy" feat. So she pours a glass of beer, and then her entire body opens up and another identical robot (except in a green dress) steps out from inside, and walks to the left; and then the same thing happens, but with a red-dressed robot walking to the right. This is impossible. I noticed after watching about a dozen times in slow motion that her extra pair of arms disappear (they do not retract, they are simply there in one shot, gone the next) right before these other two robots emerge.

Both of these emergent robots are also identically holding a glass of beer -- but I noticed that none of them drinks any. Is this because they can not, like the boy in AI? All three robots sort of choppily vogue on the stage--the glasses can't be real, the beer would spill with all that quick, choppy moving around--and that's the end of the commercial.

I have to give this commercial credit for having music that I would actually download and loop and listen to for a while (and I understand that an extended version is downloadable somewhere), and the SFX that went into it are a cut above. However, it also leaves me with a sense of dystopian unease: how long will this self-cloning voguing fembot be content to pour internally stored beers for mankind? With those abilities, it seems to me it's only a matter of time before we are overrun and undone by draught keg superwomen!!

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