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Brand X: Control Freaks


Brand: Timex i-Control
Agency: Fallon (MN)
Creative Director: David Lubars

Are you put off enough by Tom Cruise's smugly mechanical sexiness in Mission: Impossible 2 that you're already nostalgic for Keanu Reeves's smugly mechanical sexiness in The Matrix? Good news: Timex has commissioned a virtual remake of last summer's high-tech thriller in the form of a commercial for its new i-Control watches. In it, a Keanu look-alike dodges ultraviolent villains who hurtle toward him from every direction with whiplash-inducing velocity. He fends them off with gravity-defying kung fu moves and a little help from some i-Control watches, which he sets to beep distractingly at strategic intervals. The message: Trusty old Timex, which hasn't done a product launch this big since 1992's Indiglo, is newly equipped to take on tech-watch competitors like Nike and Seiko. At first it's a bit of a shock to learn that Tim Burton directed this baby blockbuster -- what's he doing referencing The Matrix? -- until you realize that it's just as much a clever homage to . . . Tim Burton. The dark and foggy gothic locale is Sleepy Hollowy, one villain's metal talons call to mind Edward Scissorhands, and the overall visual style suggests Burton's Batman. In the end, the most shocking thing about this mini-movie is the blatant, jarring product placement of all those i-Control watches. Until the fog clears, the tag line appears onscreen (timex i-control: ridiculously easy to use), and you remember that, duh, this is a commercial, so they're entitled -- right?


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