First take a look at this commercial.
Among many other impressions, I think this commercial is an oddly exaggerated battle scenario featuring a bunch of ordinary people and celebrities alike shooting round after round of military grade weaponry in various directions. This much is obvious, and pretty creative. "There's a Soldier in All of Us" is the take away from the commercial, which I think is the weakest part. After all, many of the people depicted in the commercial don't behave like soldiers. Some check cell phones. Jimmy Kimmel flies back after firing an RPG round. And the final image shows a man walking toward the screen firing two pistols in opposite directions without looking at where he's firing. He then drops the guns like an over the top Hollywood action star.
The stronger message likes in how the people do act in the commercial and the results of their actions. In a ridiculous sort of fire fight, bullets and explosions litter the commercial yet not a single person is hit. No blood. No pain. Most of the shots aren't directed against humans or even targets we can discern. Just sparks. The occasional ricochet. Smoke. And billowing flames. All while all the actors fire their seemingly non lethal weapons, their non-verbal language tells the rest of the story. Their excited, exasperated, playful, exhilarated, and overall unafraid expressions tell me that these people aren't at war; they're not in danger. Rather, they're just relishing in the spirit of play.
The reason this subtler message is powerful is because of the kind of attitude that we, gamers, form when playing video games; especially violent video games. I don't play COD4, Halo, Street Fighter, Metroid Prime, Perfect Dark, etc. to act out violence. I play these violent games in the spirit of play exercising imagination and make believe. And I'm sure most other gamers are the same. FPS multiplayer is like a sport really. When I squeeze the trigger with an enemy Spartan in my sights, I'm not killing him. I'm forcing that player into a penalty box. I like shooting guns in games because launching projectiles is a neat way to reach out and interact with far away targets (simplifying space). Whether 2D or 3D, paintballs or plasma grenades, I love the rules and interactive systems of video games, violent or otherwise.
The Call of Duty: Black Ops commercial perfectly captures this spirit.