Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Battle of Car-atoga

A couple years ago, I made a post about a Pepsi ad that implied that a young Jimi Hendrix was inspired to play guitar because of his love for Pepsi. In it, I joked that Pepsi rejected a script suggesting that Pepsi also inspired Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence. As it happens, there are two commercials out right now that took that ball and ran with it. I couldn't find one online, so here's the other.

To say that Dodge has been going a bit over the top with its ad campaign lately is probably understating it. First, they mocked you alternately for being a big pussy who drives a minivan and for being a big pussy who doesn't drive a minivan. (Can't win with these guys.) Now... well, look, I know this ad is not seriously suggesting that George Washington drove a Dodge Challenger. But what is it suggesting?

The takeaway association is that Dodge, as a company, is somehow emblematic of the American spirit. America got freedom right, and we, Dodge, got cars right! At the risk of appearing humorless, I just find this ad kind of crass. It's one thing to be a goofy local ad where some guy dressed as George Washington says, "I cannot tell a lie - Discount Warehouse has great deals!" It's quite another to be a major corporation running a straight-faced ad implying that Washington would have approved of your business model.

The more annoying thing, of course, is that this is the only pitch. Anything to say about the car? No. Totally fake scenario in which the car is being awesome? Sure, I guess. It's not like this is even an impressive driving shot or something like so many car commercials feature. And I dare you to take your Dodge Challenger out into some random field and see how it does.

Also, we're allies with the British, people. Maybe we don't need to run an ad which depicts them as initially oppressive and then cowardly in the face of our superior automobiles? I picture David Cameron seeing this and then changing the channel while muttering darkly, "Bloody hell, Yanks, it was 230 years ago! Let it go!"