Last year about this time, Joel and Ethan Coen were basking in the glow of winning multiple Academy Awards for No Country for Old Men. This year, they're hard at work finishing their black comedy follow-up, A Serious Man, which is due out this fall.
While they're in that black comedy mood, the Coen Brothers took time out to direct a 30-second TV ad in support of the Reality Coalition. You can watch the video, which is embedded below, thanks to the folks at Funny or Die. The Reality Coalition wants to "expose the coal industry's misleading marketing campaign for so-called 'clean coal,'" according to a prepared statement.
The Coens have always laced their work with sly, subversive messages, but the video is the first time they've been so straightforward in making a contribution to a, gulp, somewhat political campaign. (Don't worry, the ad itself won't knock you over the head with its message.) The press release says they "were excited to be part of this important project."
I love the line, "Clean Coal Clean harnesses the awesome power of the word 'clean' to make it sound like the cleanest there is." Beyond the concept and the ad copy, what makes the spot work is the deadpan comic timing of the Coen Brothers; the 'suburban family trying a new product' is a tried-and-true advertising gambit, but they give it a good, choking spin. Check it out: