I imagine that most people have seen the Visa check card commercial with the assembly line deli. Overall it’s a pretty effective commercial and uses a portion of the Raymond Scott song, Powerhouse, to great effect.

But the spot has bugged me since I first saw it. For starters, I don’t find the idea that check cards are faster than cash to be all that believable. I’m sure there are some circumstances where it might be. If the cashier drops your money as you are handing it to him and then slams his head on the counter and knocks himself out while bending over to pick up the money, then the check card would definitely be faster. But realistically, if a few seconds at the checkout counter is a big issue for you, you probably have some serious time management issues.

However, the thing about the commercial that most annoys me is the overall tone, the way the cashier and the other customers glare at the guy for whipping out some cash. They acted like he had just dropped a bag full of pennies on the counter rather than a few bills. We are supposed to think that he is some kind of schmoe just because he join the plastic-carrying herd?

Which brings me to what I consider the most interesting thing about the commercial. The tune they use is pretty recognizable since it appears it lots of Warner Brothers cartoons. But, as I recall it, generally the theme was played in scenes involving massive assembly lines churning out some product or other. And more often than not, the protagonist finds himself caught up in this machinery, trying to get out without being crushed or wrapped up in a box. So it is associated with this massive, uncaring industrial complex that can be downright dangerous to the individual.

So either Visa is trying to be ironic with ad, or they don’t understand the message implied by the music. Instead of trying to steer clear of the machinery, we are urged to gladly rush into the big machine and even act as the cogs in a sense.

That being said, the tune is still catchy as hell.