A library got to make an unexpected appearance yesterday at one of the most watched events in the world. A commercial for Oreo cookies that appeared in Super Bowl XLVII showcased a series of events unfolding in a library.
The commercial featured a disagreement between two people over which part of an Oreo cookie is the best part. The argument escalates into a fight over whether the cream or cookie is the best part. All the other patrons in the library end up fighting and firefighters and policemen are called in. The entire library gets completely demolished. Of course, the funny part of the whole ad is that everyone is whispering while they’re fighting since they are in a library.
The ad is amusing and it certainly passed the “made my kids laugh” test. Even young children seem to know that you’re supposed to be quiet in a library. Even if you’re fighting and destroying the whole place.
After seeing the commercial I began to wonder if it might have accidentally included a deeper meaning. Could the absurd ad be showing us the future of libraries?
If you look at the library that is showcased in the ad you will notice that it doesn’t really look like most libraries today. The one in the commercial is almost entirely books, chairs, tables and bookcases. There are barely any computers shown at all and you have to look really hard for them. One patron throws either an ancient computer or a microfilm reader while he whispers “cream!” and you can see a few monitors in the background but that’s about it. Most libraries today have tons of computers and wish they had even more.
The ad seems to show a library that most people remember from their childhood. This is where the possible deeper meaning comes in.
Is the last time most people went to a library in their youth when libraries looked like the one portrayed in the commercial? Are libraries with books going to be demolished? Will they become so unimportant that insignificant things like an argument over food will be more important?
Libraries are changing quickly as they transition to ebooks and digital media. A larger portion of library budgets is being allocated to computers, ebooks and technology. It’s hard to find a library these days that looks like the one in the ad.
The Super Bowl Oreo commercial seems to subliminally state how a large portion of society views libraries. They view libraries with books as obsolete, but they definitely know you should whisper if you need to talk in a library. Let’s just hope that they think that libraries with ebooks, computers and digital media are important. And that you still need to be quiet in them.