Back in 2007, we were able to get Mike Gravel's throwing-a-rock-in-the-water ad:
Maybe some day Mark Block — the smoking guy — will explain his ad the way Mike Gravel explained his ad here:
All right, now... try again. Here's the smoking guy ad:
Do you understand now? It is a little different, but there are similarities, and I don't just mean that both ads are weird and went viral as a result. Both have an old white guy, who seems pretty boring and rather surly, with his face right up in the camera. In both ads, you endure that face. How long must I look at this old guy?
Finally, something happens. In the Gravel ad, the old guy throws a rock in the water. Ah! In the Herman Cain ad, what happens is... the music comes on — "I am America!" — and the old guy starts smoking. It's absurd and still about oldness. This old man is doing that old thing from the past — smoking! What the hell? Then suddenly... Cain! He looks so fresh-faced, and he's not surly at all. He's got this slow-breaking smile. It takes 5 seconds for the smile to broaden to the point where the teeth begin to show. And those are not smoker's teeth. They are sparkling white teeth. We see that smile for 10 whole seconds.
And then you go on to talk about — not the 10-second long smile — but the smoker guy. Why was that man smoking?! You watch it again and get other people to watch it as your conscious mind dithers over the puzzle of the smoking man. And all along, you're falling — unwittingly — in love with the man with the beautiful smile.
Watch it again. See the smile. Sly!