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Showing Speed … Easy (and Eager) to be “Stupid Fast” ... A word (or about 460 or so) about automotive TV advertising

Published on Wed, Jun 19, 2019

By: Doug Stokes

Showing Speed … Easy (and Eager) to be “Stupid Fast”

OPINION: A word (or about 460 or so) about automotive TV advertising 

By way of a quick introduction … I’m not only an automotive industry partisan, I’m a (pretty well-qualified) “racing person”* and so it’s with those credentials and that long-time investment that I need to wonder aloud here about how un-creative, lazy, and just plain tone-deaf some (otherwise pretty good) automobile manufacturers have become when they (seemingly) go along with their lame, lazy ad agency’s idea of how to show their products as powerful, sleek, high-performing machines by portraying them as doing outrageous, stupid, and outright illegal things on city streets.**                                                                                                                                                                                                  – Doug Stokes, Editor at Large

Fiat Chrysler, Mercedes, and now Lexus have recently run (are still running) adverts that show their products being driven (on public streets and highways) in blatantly unsafe manner(s). You’ve seen the ads, they are not jokes (and any barely-readable chyron that whispers something about “…closed course” or “… don’t try this at home” is a damn joke) the scenes are right out of the book of juvenile fantasy and any consequences are clearly not even alluded to.

One would think that any the above (strong/popular/old-line/respected) car companies could find a way to portray and promote the great “high performance” aspect of their products without showing their cars breaking the law.

We’ve been here before and the ads are just as irresponsible as ever…

A number of years ago Volkswagen hoodwinked thousands upon thousands of car buyers who believed that they were buying “Clean Diesel” I called it a “betrayal” (of the consumers and the whole industry).

I’m back to reviving that descriptive word here with an overlay of terminal laziness and profound creative paralysis. -DS

*I’ve owned and raced cars (at racetracks!), worked on them, stayed up very late or gotten up very early to watch motorsports events on pre-DVR TV, administered a national racing organization for five years, worked as a key staff person a two well-known race tracks here in southern California, attended hundreds of racing events across the country, have way, way too many books on the subject, and (just saying) “some of my best friends” are pretty damn good pro drivers.

**And you may (please) screw all the: “Hey, Stokes … Hey … Relax man! … It’s just good old ad-world fantasy stuff”… like using a certain perfume will get you layed, or promoted to associate editor, or maybe even a whiter-brighter smile. Except this stuff will kill.   The above adverts all flat out portray and directly glorify illegal street racing. My verdict is that any automaker who uses that sort of imagery to sell their damn cars should have their driver’s license suspended.

A last word of encouragement: I think (damn sure hope) that you are better than this…

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