63 Under Siege
Louis Althusser describes ideology as “the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence” (Rivkin and Ryan 693). For this blog post, I have chosen to examine a commercial for the only adult-karate-class energy beverage to contain 100% juice, Tibetan Goji Berries, AND Asian Cordyceps. Steven Seagal’s Lightning Bolt is now out of production energy drink concocted by the renowned actor, martial artist, sensei, and deputy sheriff himself. Coming in three flavors (Asian Experience, Cherry Charge, and Root Beer Rush), Lighting Bolt is a very dumb drink that probably tasted like radiation. The commercial is a great example of interpolation because Steven Seagal is terrible at nuance. It is clear to see what he is trying to sell you, and the Steven Seagal ideology you are buying into when you purchase and consume Lighting Bolt.
In the opening of the commercial, we see Steven Seagal sitting by his pool in his trademark tiny sunglasses. He is watching an attractive young woman fill a swimming pool with Lightning Bolt so that she and Mr. Seagal can swim in the beverage. After she is done, and he has shoved her into the pool, he is approached by another young woman carrying a snack plate. She and Steven speak in russian with each other before she kisses him and leaves. He then turns to the camera and states “Its good to be the king isn’t it? This could happen to you, if you drink Lightning Bolt.” It is with this phrase that Steven hails, and then interpellates the viewer into the ideology of Seagal. If you drink Lightning Bolt, then you can be the king too. With this phrase and the imagery in the commercial, Steven creates an imaginary “poolside karate/energy/eastern european babes” reality and invites his intended audience to participate by purchasing Lighting Bolt. He creates an ideology that is meant to be appealing to a certain demographic, and then provides access to this ideology with his product.