Mixing genres with Sears’ “Connecting Flight” commercial

The Sears TV commercial running right now titled “Connecting Flights” turns a holiday romantic comedy trailer into an appliance advertisement. Watch here.

My Culture, Media, and Society class recently discussed genres and how they help structure narratives. If you have seen a holiday romantic comedy movie trailer or commercial, you have seen the opening part of this particular advertisement. Two people are trapped at an airport after their flights have been canceled. They meet and start enjoying each other’s company in the airport. Yet, when they finally find flights out, they realize they want to stay together and start running toward each other.

This is where the genre falls apart. Instead of running the arms of the other, each crashes into a stainless steel refrigerator. And it turns into a clear advertisement for Sears. On one hand, it is a smart use of an existing type of cultural work. On the other hand, the ending is so different than the beginning that I wonder how many people like Sears at the end. It is a bait and switch: what happened to the cheesy, feel-good romantic comedy?

In the end, Sears uses an existing narrative form to try to provide a new perspective on appliances, one of the few things Sears now has going for it. But, the contrast in genres, switching so abruptly from holiday romantic comedy to selling home appliances, is jarring.