Mentos Lessons: Absolute Power CorruptsPosted: August 26, 2013
Most of the Mentos Ad Films that we’ve reviewed so far have positive messages – Be resourceful. Be positive. Don’t panic. Enjoy the little victories without gloating.
Today’s Mentos Film is darker. It will teach us about the capricious misuse of power. Ironically, the film carries the name of a happy celebration: The Wedding.
Roll The Film Please, Larry
The film starts with the main character (let’s call him Dirk, because it rhymes with jerk) playing soccer with his friends on a tiny plot of land bordered by a tall hedge. The ball pops high in the air; Dirk can’t jump high enough to corral it. Was his leap curtailed by his two-sizes-too-large white t-shirt? Could be, but that’s not the point.
Dirk volunteers to get the ball. The ball comes to rest in a wedding reception that is occurring on the other side of the hedge from the tiny soccer field. This must be a dull reception because Dirk seems unaware it is happening until he runs up to Alfred The Butler who is keeping out the riff-raff.
Dirk is stymied. He wants the soccer ball, but it is in the area where the reception is being held. Dirk pauses, considers the situation, pops a Mentos and gets to work.
Grabbing a stem of flowers from the reception decorations, Dirk presents them to the bride as if he paid for them. He wishes the couple well and leans in to kiss the bride…on the lips. She recovers from the shock of his aggressive move in time to turn a cheek. Dirk takes off to complete his real mission just as the groom is about to get his temper up.
Alfred lets Dirk into the reception because everyone knows that if you lay one on the bride you’re obviously a welcomed guest. It isn’t until Dirk recovers the soccer ball from inside the reception that Alfred realizes he has been had. By that time Dirk has popped another Mentos. Alfred knows that the Mentos shields Dirk from any sort of violent ejection, so he accepts his defeat like a gentleman.
This film is all about misusing power. In this case, misusing the power of Mentos.
Dirk wants his soccer ball back. That isn’t an unreasonable goal. His only obstacle is a man, Alfred, who is simply doing his job. A greeting and conversation would have gotten Dirk and friends back to having fun:
Dirk: Good afternoon, sir. My friends and I were playing soccer on the tiny field on the other side of the hedge. Our ball inadvertently flew over the hedge into the reception. We’re sorry for that and would be happy to move our game to another tiny field further from your event. Would it be possible for me to enter and recover my ball? Alternatively, one of your staff could bring it out. I’ve no wish to cause further disruption of the happy couple’s day.
Alfred: Thank you for asking. I will have my man inside bring the ball to you. How many friends are in the game? I’d like to arrange for a slice of cake for each of you because you are so gentlemanly.
That isn’t what happened. Instead, Dirk took advantage of the power of Mentos. In doing so, he ruined the bride’s day by forcing her to have to repeatedly explain to her jealous husband that she really did not know who that guy was. He also humiliated Alfred who, until this happened, had maintained a secure and safe wedding environment for all.
I think it was John Dalberg-Acton, the 1st Baron Acton, son of Sir Ferdinand Dalberg-Acton and Grandson of Sir John Acton, The Unhyphenated who said “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts, absolutely.” No character personifies Baron Acton’s words more clearly than Dirk.
DIrk knew he had power. His desire, nay, lust to possess and use that power corrupted his thoughts and actions (but not his Dalberg-Actons). Misusing power ruined a lovely day and, possibly, the career of a decent man.
Remember the difference between can and should, my Mentos friends.