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Every year during the Super Bowl, an actor or actress steps back into the shoes of a recognizable character to sell a product. The latest example? Laurence Fishburne putting Morpheus’ frameless glasses back on for a Kia ad (posted to their YouTube page) to help move automobiles. The emphasis is on luxury, with Kia peddling its K900 vehicle. Fishburne, for his part, tweaks the "Take this colored pill" monologue, then sings opera to a puzzled Caucasian couple as they drive home from a swank eatery.
So yeah, using Morpheus – the leader of a futuristic revolution – to sell cars to the masses kind of goes against everything Larry and Andy Wachowski wanted to say in the Matrix trilogy. Do they have to sound off on the use of their characters in a car campaign? They must, right? They must not mind, because Matrix characters have been used in commercials before, as when Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith appeared in these General Electric spots:
Obviously, the visual style of the Matrix universe is instantly recognizable in a 30-second spot. Kia doesn’t have to educate the world on who Fishburne is playing. They see the glasses, hear his deep tone, and know instantly it’s a play off the Matrix movies. Similarly, Dodge only needed Will Ferrell in a burgundy suit and a mustache to launch several commercials for its Durango trucks late last year.
Will we see any other pop-culture staples during Sunday’s big game? You can count on it. Hollywood uses the valuable Super Bowl ads to tap into an audience’s nostalgia, as well as to help sell upcoming movies. Will they resonate like the Morpheus clip? Did that spot above even work? Weigh in with your thoughts below.