The best thing about this mildly amusing parody of those “Real People/Chevy” commercials, which have been running endlessly on TV, is that it proves I’m not the only one who loathes the source material. And I do. Unreservedly.

I’m not sure why I (and others) dislike these advertisements so much. On the surface they are but showroom testimonials. Hardly creative but hardly nefarious either.

I suppose it’s the little things.

Like the seemingly random and unaware “real people,” who act surprised and delighted by the appearance of… cars? Gosh, we’ve never seen those before! Yet the curtains lift. Walls part. And lo and behold cars appear. By oohing and aahing, the allegedly unwitting folks come off as witless. Even if a $19,000 dollar Chevy Impala were capable of eliciting such responses, playing the reactions as spontaneous rankles what’s left of my jaded advertising brain.

And how about the ringmaster? Another supposed regular guy, only smugger. Note to Chevy: Being in on a joke that is positively un-funny only makes one complicit to the insult to our intelligence.

Digging deeper (if that’s possible in such shallow material), maybe it’s the adoration for Chevrolet’s commonplace vehicles that vexes me most. Nothing against affordable sedans and efficient trucks. They are the meat and potatoes of America’s roads, and we appreciate them as such. But falling to one’s knees and hugging the bumper, as one character does, is too disingenuous for words. Yes, this would play on, say, The Price is Right after winning one of these vehicles, but merely being shown these cars? And after the pomp and circumstance of so many vainglorious reveals… It’s crummy stagecraft.

I’m guessing from the many executions and frequency of airing that on some level this campaign is selling cars. In which case Chevrolet and its agency, Commonwealth shall have the last laugh.

I’m also aware that on these very pages I’ve written about my reluctance to criticize advertising in purely negative terms, which makes me a hypocrite. Perhaps my excuse for such shameless behavior is the same as Chevrolet’s: I couldn’t help myself.

For content that’ll make you very happy, hit me up: https://steffanwork.wordpress.com/


This is how we roll in Detroit…

Auto advertisers carried the day at Super Bowl XLV. Heralding a comeback to marketing muscle, numerous car companies outdid themselves and each other in terms of blockbuster ads. Not only were many automakers in the Super Bowl, many of their ads were damn good and some even great. Volkswagen, Chevy, Chrysler, Mercedes, Hyundai, Audi; Did I miss anyone? They came out firing on all cylinders.

In my opinion leaders of the pack were Chevy and Chrysler, two American car companies that not too long ago were running on vapors. Not this night. Chevy’s tongue in cheek living storyboard for Camaro was brilliant. Two dudes talk about their idea of a badass commercial and we see it come to life.

The pretend ‘local’ Chevy spot that morphs into a Transformers riff was an absolute hoot. When it began, I really wondered how in the hell some Podunk dealership could possibly afford a Super Bowl spot. Then the featured car turns into a mean-as-hell Transformer wreaking havoc on the lot. I don’t much care for the Transformer movies but the marketing synergy and mock-sleazy production were spot on.

But for me the only commercial that riveted me to my seat –stopping traffic if you will- was the two-minute opus for Chrysler. Frankly, I didn’t even like everything about it (the car, for one, wasn’t that special), yet the film was still powerful enough to be the best commercial of the night. Featuring one of Eminem’s signature beats and then the man himself, Chrysler told the story of Detroit’s rise and fall and rise again with verve, machismo and righteousness. The controversial tagline, “Imported from Detroit” made it cherry. They are the motor city, after all.

Was this film more a love letter to Detroit than a car commercial? Perhaps. But maybe that’s okay. They are the motor city, after all.