Science Borealis

Science Borealis
Science Borealis

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Damme, I broke the laws of Physics again!

Are you one of the 60 millions (!!!) of people who watched Volvo's "Epic Split" ad featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme?

If not, here it is, with its majestic feel:

It is a beautiful ad. Very elegant, extremely impressive performance, and above all, amazing engineering by Volvo to allow such high precision steering of their trucks.

But, one thing it is not - defying the laws of physics.

I'm sorry to be a stickler for details, but with all due respect to Jean-Claude Van Damme (and much respect I do have for his mastering of the body and mind), physics is not the least surprised by this ad.

Which "laws of physics" did the screenwriters think of when they wrote this line?

Were they thinking of Newton's law of universal gravitation
Are we to expect that Jean-Claude Van Damme should fall to the ground due to gravity, and surprisingly he does not? of course he does not fall, his legs are resting on the trucks' side mirrors.

Were they thinking of friction ?
Were we expecting Jean-Claude Van Damme's feet to slide off the side mirrors? obviously, he chose proper shoes which provide enough friction, as well as being able to control his balance such that he doesn't looses his foot hold.

What other 'Laws of Physics' could they have been thinking of?
Under "Major Laws of Physics" we can find a few others:

- E = m c2
(clearly Jean-Claude Van Damme does not transforms into energy)

- Conservation of momentum
(not colliding into anything, and with the trucks not breaking, momentum doesn't change anyways)

- Laws of thermodynamics
(its hard to say what is happening to Jean-Claude Van Damme's internal energy or his entropy, so I cannot comment on these ones)

- Electrostatic laws
(having no wires connected to him, nor a light bulb, I don't think Jean-Claude Van Damme is generating an electrostatic field)

- Theory of relativity
(the trucks are traveling at a speed far slower than the speed of light, so this can't be the right one)

- Quantum mechanics
(with a body mass of a human being, Quantum mechanics are just as accurate as classical mechanics)

So, to sum things up, do I think this is an amazing ad? YES!
Would I have thought it was an amazing ad without having the "defy the laws of physics" in it? YES!

Would you have felt any different of the ad if 'laws of physics' were not "defied"? I'm guessing no.

(Dear commercial copywriters, I know you are being paid to deliver super drama. But seriously, if the theme is not science fiction, don't insult people by stating over dramatizing empty claims.) 


No comments:

Post a Comment