When Car Commercials Aren’t Corporate

I’m not one of those guys who thinks every commercial out there is an unnecessary distraction at best or an evil form of hypnosis at worse.  I’m hoping to make money from creating commercials, so of course that’s how I think, right?  Well OK, good point, but I do admit that there’s a dark side to advertising.  Some ad campaigns exist to  seduce people into becoming materialistic zombies who stop being themselves in order to pursuit a corporate illusion.  That kind of thing makes me sad, and I don’t want to make  those kinds of commercials.

But then, there are commercials that do good.  They tell you about useful products or services, ones that can solve problems or help you enjoy life more. Yes, it’s a fine balance between celebrating a product for its enjoyable qualities and in striving to convince you that you need a product to be happy    That’s why presentation is everything, noble readers (well not everything, because well, it’s just a commercial, and there are more important things, but you know what I mean).

For some reason, most car commercials tend to be exceedingly corporate. There are exceptions, like the stuff done by Volkswagen or BMW, but for the most part car commercials feel like they were thought out by a committee who asks itself, what do people like to see in car commercials?  Cars on curvy roads?  Vaguely icey-cool visuals in vaguely exotic locations?  Talking animals?    Check, check, and check, and another commercial gets cranked out that is very much like all the other commercials.  Hooray!  But wait, what car was that again, and what is special about it?  Oh well.

(A more interesting variation of this shows up with truck commercials.   Here the game is about convincing you that their truck is tougher than yours.  Sure, your truck can withstand machine gun fire, but does it still give you that tough, rugged performance when hit with a small thermo-nuclear device?  I think not, so time to upgrade, good buddy.  Right?  I must confess, I am swayed by this a little, and so someday, I may buy one of those tough trucks just for the satisfaction of knowing that I could get hit by the world’s biggest battering ram while I’m towing an aircraft carrier, and still keep on truckin!)

So since my expectations for car commercials are so low, whenever I find one that defies my expectations, like this one for the Dodge Journey, I’m delighted and I take note of the car:

This commercial has a playfully inventive style that fits with the car’s tagline: “If you can dream it, do it.”  You see, it’s sort of like a daydream, the kind that a family might have as mom and dad plan for their next vacation.  I get it.  This car can make those daydreams come to life in an enjoyable way.   That’s why it’s called Dodge’s Journey.  In an aesthetically pleasing way the commercial makes it clear: This car isn’t like all the other crossovers out there.  This is something special.

When was the last time those ice-cold, make-your-neighbors-jealous car commercials made you think the same think?


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