The world is going to hell and Jeep answers call of duty with badass war machines.
November 21, 2011
The Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Edition. That’s a big title for a new jeep, a video game or even a hybrid of the two. The above commercial for it (them?) is a mash-up as well -part video game and part car commercial.
The spot opens on imagery from the game, depicting a global war in suitably epic fashion. We see the Eiffel Tower being blown up, other massive explosions in London and New York. Pull back and see these same images being broadcast over a TV in a pub. Real people avatars are watching said broadcast. For all I know they’re part of Call of Duty’s imagery. (I don’t play the game.) Anyway, the signature Jeep crashes through a military holding tank onto the battlefield, taking sharp turns and hiking over debris, as one would expect in a Jeep commercial. The warfare is another matter. To my recollection this is one of the first mainstream automobile commercials using realistic combat as a foil. The jeeps are real vehicles, the ones being advertised. But they are also objects of destruction and protection: war machines.
Incorporating real people into the hyper-violent world of video games is nothing new. The last couple years have shown us many doozies, including this epic piece for Call of Duty featuring Jonah Hill as “the Noob.”
Steroidal imagery of Apocalypse is commonplace in movies and film. Indeed, shots of an exploding White House, Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower have become clichés. Inevitable that marketing would follow suit.
But a car commercial glamorizing warfare crosses another line, albeit an antiquated one. And they’re not the only one. Conservative companies like State Farm didn’t used to feature violent aliens as fodder for selling homeowner’s insurance. But at least they play it for laughs.
The Jeep commercial makes war seem normal as opposed to an unfortunate last resort. This is the world we live in, it says. Deal with it. Hey, I know it’s all in good fun. War toys have been a part of kids’ toy boxes for years. Still, something disturbs me beyond the disturbing imagery. It’s the thinking. The Jeep commercial is pure nihilism: The world is ending. Buy a Jeep. Not to sound like a peacenik but isn’t war supposed to be hell?
Interesting footnote: Advertising for the armed forces -the real ones- are looking more and more like video games, further blurring lines between what’s normal and what’s not.