Nvidia “Directions”

Its detractors say the ad business specializes in mumbo-jumbo. To the extent they’re right, this teaser spot for Nvidia (by San Francisco-based agency Cutwater) is playing to the industry’s strength as it shows a traffic cop spouting nonsense to a woman who has innocently asked him for directions. It’s a setup for the voiceover’s observation that “There’s a better way to communicate” – which, in turn, leads to the tagline, “Speak visual, with Nvidia in your computer,” plus a “speakvisual.com” Web address. (Nvidia’s Graphic Processing Unit technology generates interactive graphics on computers, mobile devices, game consoles and whatnot – hence the “Speak visual” motto.) As is often the case with commercials that present a problem-then-solution narrative line, the problem comes across more vividly than the solution — particularly since the solution is merely hinted at here. But some viewers will be sufficiently curious to go to the Web site, where Nvidia really shows its stuff. By the way, is the world ready for a brand whose name, when spoken as it is in this spot, sounds so much like “invidious”? I reserve the right to accuse the company of making Nvidious comparisons the first time it boasts of superiority to a competing brand. -Mark Dolliver