Okay, folks, this one should be a softball:
We have older white parents and an Asian son. Asian son comes home from college holding VitaminWater Revive, older Dad calls Asian son on it, son flashes back to his Hangover-style lost weekend spent partying, then Dad congratulates him on hitting the books, and all is well in sugarwaterland.
The commercial airs at a time when the Asian experience is very much a hot topic in public discourse. Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother has taught fat and lazy white Americans that it’s okay to abuse your kids to get them to practice violin as long as you confess to the abuse after your kids make it to Carnegie Hall. An article in New York Magazine reveals that Asian-American college grads are frustrated that their academic achievement does not translate to success in the boardroom or at the nightclub.
So who is the commercial targeted to? Students certainly. But Asian students, or white students? There is at least one overt reference to Chinese culture. At 0:20, the son is shown partying next to a dancing Chinese dragon. So is the pitch directed ironically at those students who are at least familiar personally or indirectly with the stereotype of the Asian student studying deep into the night? Or is this an attempt to capture something more broad, like some of Red Bull’s energy drink market?
What do you think, and what did you see that made you think it?