The Replacer (Mis)Manages Reality So You Can Play More CoD
Video games are not my thing. However, their popularity is unquestionable. I remember in high school kids skipped days for the new game, specifically Halo and Call of Duty, which is still going strong—as showcased in the Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 Operation Grand Heist ad: The Replacer Did It.
Peter Stromare returned as “The Replacer” in the new Black Ops ad. Stromare’s aptly named character is a guy who trades places with people so they can play Call of Duty. First appearing for Black Ops 2: Revolution in 2013, Stromare has reprised his role at various moments in the past six years.
In this new ad, for Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 Operation Grand Heist, he spots for the president, a farmer, and an awards host. The commercial parodies today’s craziness, from the host-less Oscars to Brexit, with amusing results and all the while highlights my problem with video games. Still, for its niche audience, it’s the perfect ad.
These were the ad’s “best maps”…
1. Peter Stromare as The Replacer – The trailer didn’t have much going for it outside of comedy and the man delivering it. Stromare (Fargo) was perfect for the slick haired, devious character. He looked like an illegal arms dealer and it’s a caricature he’s repeated in films like John Wick: Chapter 2. Furthermore, he’s deceptively good at comedy. He’s a larger man, built for action roles, but time and time again, I’m struck by his comedic abilities and The Replacer Did It found him at his best.
2. Parodies – The ad had legitimately funny moments, most parodying today’s madness. It made fun of the government shutdown, the host-less Oscars, American Idol-like shows, ‘roided cows, Brexit, The White House’s fast food platter for Clemson’s Championship Football team and pressing the red button. Once the ad cut to video game footage, I lost interest, but the opening minutes were smart, satiric comedy.
3. Audience – This ad knew its audience and its comedy and pacing reflected that. Yes, the comedy was broader; to attract non-gamers, but its tempo and other moments were directed at the gamer demographic. The Replacer Did It un-unabashedly advertised to them. It was even refreshingly self-depreciating, joking about how people miss events to play video games.
Here’s where the ad glitched a little…
1.Video Game Obsession and Confusion – Spending countless hours in front of a screen, pressing the ‘A’ button is socially unhealthy. That aside, I thought Call of Duty was a military series. However, in the ad I saw a guy that looked out of Miami Vice, zombies and a gorilla in body armor. You could call this picking nits, but I was confused to say the least – not part of the select audience, I guess.
Fast to the point of ADHD, The Replacer Did It had genuinely funny moments that non- gamers would find humorous. However, as a whole, the trailer was a niche ad for a niche (albeit large) market.