While most general culture publications are using this week to run back-to-school features, The A.V. Club has been running a series about a much more influential part of the American experience–the mall. Reading it, it’s hard to not think about how my perspective of the local mall has changed over time. In middle school, I looked at the mall almost as an amusement park, a mini-EPCOT Center with different worlds mostly hidden behind showy storefronts. In high school, the mall became a place to kill time between minimum wage jobs, hoping to bump into your crush in the food-court during your 20-minute lunch break. In college, the mall became a place to avoid, a symbol of inflated consumerism and a reminder of how naive your worldview was in high school.
Now, I see the mall as an intimidatingly bizarre monolith, a place I feel horribly uncomfortable in whenever I’m forced to enter one for a quick errand. It’s hard to believe that a place where I spent an inordinate amount of time at 16 now seems so foreign. But, there are those people, who we’ll call “mall people,” that never change despite how much your perspective might. In fact, if I were to identify the polar opposite of myself among mall denizens, it would be the dude who works the remote-control helicopter kiosk. No one, not even the manager of the Gap, is more in his element than that guy. He’s the guy who gets free pretzels from Auntie Anne’s, dates that hot new girl who works at American Eagle, and the guy you hope will invite you to eat lunch at the cool table one day.
Well, W+K Portland is honoring that guy in a new TV campaign for Velveeta, “Eat Like That Guy You Know.” The guy in question here, who Bud Light would name “Mr. RC Helicopter Kiosk Employee,” has in my eyes gone from awesome to lame to actually kind of cool again as I grow up. Hey, he may not be pulling in six-figures, but he has the swagger of someone who pulls in seven.
On Kraft’s Velveeta website, visitors are encouraged to eat like many different archetypes they’re familiar with. Again, it has a “Real Men of Genius” vibe to it, but in classic Velveeta fashion, it’s just a little cheesier. Credits after the jump.