Entries in advertising (8)
On a recent trip to Hong Kong, I spent a lot of time looking at luxury ads. They are a pervasive presence in this city, which has an obsession with luxury consumption. Since I run my own brand, I am always studying what other companies are doing to project their image. As a car lover, I always take particular notice when cars are employed in fashion shoots.
There is one common use of cars that I simply abhor, and it's about time someone said something! I hate ads where a guy or girl is sitting on the hood of a classic car, often with their feet on the bumper! I suppose this is meant to imbue the model with a casual "Oh this old heap? Yeah I like to cruise around in it" attitude. But let's be honest here, no one EVER sits on the hood of a car they actually own. I can only imagine the hood of that poor MGA above bears the model's ass prints in its flimsy steel. And that E-type below surely needed some help after that smug-looking douche alighted from the weakest spot in the hood.
So why do I hate these ads so much? Becuase they are so unnatural, and display a contrived behavior that doesn't exist in real life. Imagine if you walked the lawn at a car show, and saw each owner sitting on the hood of his car posing for photos! That would be absolute lunacy. And the fact that it doesn't exist in real life just magnifies how out of touch the creative directors --most of whom probably don't own a car and couldn't even tell you the name of the car in the ad-- are, and therefore how little credibility the brand has to actual car aficionados despite their use of a car in the ad. It just rings incredibly hollow, and makes the use of the car all the more superficial.
You'll never see this BS in any Autodromo campaign, I promise you.
I always love to see American car companies get things right for a change, and anyone watching a lot of Olympics coverage on NBC will have for sure seen the new campaign that Cadillac has done promote the new ATS. The "Cadillac ATS vs. the World" website is well worth a visit. Their crew visited 4 very different and fascinating locations around the globe to film commercials --each chosen to demonstrate a particular characteristic of the ATS. My personal favorite is the Morocco video, which shows the ATS assaulting a snaking canyon road that looks to be one of the coolest driving roads I have ever seen! The totally crazy Chinese tunnel road is something to behold as well. This unpaved road is literally carved out of a mountain, and its stone surface shows off the magnetic suspension of the ATS beautifully. I was very excited for their visit to Monaco, but any serious car nut will be let down a little by that video. Skip the Patagonia video. It's lame.
There are lots of reasons I happen to love this campaign. First, the title is a clever play on the old Cadillac slogan "Standard of the World." Second, it ties in with the global nature of the Olympics subconsciously yet has nothing to do with the Olympics. Watch BMW's awful Olympics campaign to see how painful that can be! Third, director Jeff Zwart is a true blue car enthusiast (he produced the marvelous book Porsche Rennsport that is one of my favorites in my collection) and that comes through a lot in the filming and editing of these pieces. The commercials are truly enthusiast-oriented and engaging to watch. Also, the locations chosen are not the typical famous places like the Nurburgring or the canyon roads of the American West, so frequently used in commercials. Even Monaco, though it is a famous place, is an unlikely location to shoot a commercial for an American sports sedan. So kudos to Zwart for also making do with what I am sure were very challenging location shoots! Last, the driver in these commercials is actually Derek Hill, son of F1 champion Phil Hill! I thought that was kind of a cool touch. The only let-down in this campaign is the sort of sophomoric narration by the non-driving co-host, who makes reference to "hanging with the natives and seeing how they live" in each location. Honestly, who gives a crap? Female Olympics viewers maybe...but we can't have everything, can we? Overall, I think this might be one of the best new car commercial campaigns I have seen in a long time. It really shows off what the car can do, and speaks to a casual and enthusiast crowd in equal measure. It also shows me some remarkable places I have never ever seen before. Well done! I still won't buy an ATS, but I think many people just might go and test drive one thanks to these ads.
Note: This review was in no way solicited or paid for by GM, just in case you were wondering.
Lancia just unveiled their new website full of thinly disguised Chryslers. The tagline for the new Lancia Voyager minivan (nee Plymouth) is "Emotions to Share." Well, I've got some fucking emotions to share, Lancia! Like Disgust. Outrage. Betrayal. The Lancia brand has been in decline for many years under inept Italian leadership. But this infusion of oversized, underwhelming American product to prop up the nameplate is just beyond pathetic. Lancia fittingly chose a woman perched on a roof gazing mournfully downwards as she contemplates whether to jump to her death or go downstairs and drive that trashwagon parked outside. I found that imagery quite resonant to my own emotions as I looked through the site.
Seeing the legendary name Flavia applied to a Chrysler 200 (nee Sebring) convertible makes me want to puke almost as badly as I wanted to puke when I was forced to drive one of those pieces of junk as a rental last year. Going through this new website, it astonishes me how much care and thought was put into the marketing of such utterly shit cars. The vast amounts of money that was spent on photoshoots, branding consultants, web development, etc. All of this trouble to sell cars that should never have existed. The workings of the modern corporation never cease to confound me.After roughly a century of innovation, style, motorsports success, and the rest, this is what Lancia is reduced to: a noble badge on a worthless car. To again quote the Lancia marketing:
"There are certain emotions which go straight to the heart. Even if they have to cross an ocean."
How true. Lancia, you are dead to me now.