American advertisers always want you to believe that their core is made of saccharine and honey.
Buy my American brand and your world will be more idyllic than a night spent with Jimmy Stewart.
The Brits, on the other hand, occasionally like to reveal a dark heart below their hardened upper lip.
How touching, then, that Jaguar, a quintessentially British brand now owned by India's Tata Motors, has decided to admit to its evil underbelly.
In a Super Bowl ad to champion its quite pretty F-Type sports car, Jaguar bares its soul.
Featuring Tom Hiddleston, Mark Strong, and the nasty, nasty Ben Kingsley, the ad posits an important cultural question: "Have you ever noticed that in Hollywood movies, all the villains are played by Brits?"
What follows are the three characters uttering quite forced dialogue that's vaguely related to cars.
This is a pity.
It would have been more striking if we'd heard Kingsley say: "I will personally come to your house, slice your liver out, and saute it in your own frying pan if you don't buy this car."
It would have been more memorable if Strong had mused: "If you're not at your local Jaguar dealership within 90 minutes, I will use Google's very fine maps and your own cell phone to trace you. Then I will bind you, gag you, toss you into a very British drawing room where I will feed you to my 100 hungry rottweilers."
After all, the tagline that can briefly be glimpsed at the end of the spot is: "How alive are you?"
The Brits never like to speak directly. So a reasonable interpretation of this tagline might be: "We'll kill you if you don't buy the F-Type."
I think ratcheting up the threats would work. Americans adore violence, just as much as they fear sex.
Or am I being a little too Hollywood here?