Skip to comments.Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie - and a Downer of an Ad Campaign. (chevy trucks mellencamp)
Posted on 10/19/2006 4:05:43 AM PDT by InvisibleChurch
Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie - and a Downer of an Ad Campaign.
Detroit. I really wanted to like the new Chevy truck campaign, "Our Country, Our Truck" - I really did. I mean on paper, what's not to like? With its new, original John Mellencamp song, "Our Country," and its American images, you'd think it would have all the ingredients of a classic Chevy truck ad campaign, right? Mellencamp even went out of his way to say, "This partnership with Chevy - an American company that is creating jobs and supporting our communities - makes perfect sense for a song that is all about standing up for the working people who are the backbone of our nation." Admirable stuff indeed. But, as well-intentioned as it is, the new Chevy truck campaign is one of the biggest advertising "misses" of the year.
There are actually two commercials in play here with this campaign - with two completely different edits and two completely different points of view. Let me explain. The lead commercial edit insists on giving us a history lesson as determined by Campbell-Ewald, Chevrolet's ad agency - as if we all needed to be reminded of Richard Nixon, the most disgraced President in history, Viet Nam and the worst natural disaster in our nation's history, Hurricane Katrina, among other things. And juxtaposed against those less-than-yearned-for images is the typical hard working, bordering-on-the-heroic imagery that Chevrolet has nurtured for decades for Chevy trucks - along with images of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and firemen - as if to make sure we are all paying attention.
This is all edited to the beat of a John Mellencamp song that, juxtaposed against a boatload of negative imagery, has no restorative, anthem-like qualities whatsoever - as a matter of fact, it becomes downright dirge-like in this context. The resulting spot is uninspired and uninspiring, a visual train wreck of monumental proportions.
It's one thing to conjure up images of our recent history; it's quite another when it is hoped that the average television viewer will make the connection between the tough times we've been through - and the healing benefits of driving a Chevy truck.
That's asking too much for any 60-second commercial execution.
Ironically, there's another edit in the new Chevy truck "Our Country" TV campaign that's a flat-out hit, but unless you watch "Football Night in America" on Sunday nights on NBC, you're not going to see it (I assume they're running it in conjunction with college football too). This edit, filled with images of small-town America football, as well as classic snippets of college and pro football, soars. The Mellencamp song positively comes alive, and the visuals jump out at you with stirring images on field - and off. This is the spot that should be in dominant rotation. This is the spot that aligns perfectly with Chevy trucks.
When I wrote this column over the weekend, I hadn't seen the stories in this week's Automotive News about the campaign and the controversy it has generated. I'm not surprised this campaign has generated plenty of controversy. I also wasn't surprised to read that Chevrolet and Campbell-Ewald executives were quoted in lofty, long-winded tones as if they had taken part in creating the most pivotal State of the Union address in our nation's history. One edit of the "history lesson" spot even had a mushroom cloud in it, believe it or not, before cooler heads prevailed, a sure sign that in this era of Kim Jong Il, these people are truly in need of a jolt from a reality stick - or maybe a Taser.
The advertising business is overrun with self-important, delusional, intermittently talented people who actually believe what they work on merits consideration in the same breath as curing cancer or solving world hunger. Chevy's historical or should I say hysterical version of the Chevy truck spot is Exhibit "A" of the kind of narrow-minded, self-aggrandizing thinking that's rampant in the ad biz today.
Of course, the people involved will say that because this campaign is being talked about by everyone - in both good and bad ways - means that they have succeeded. And to some degree, though surface-oriented and callow, they're right.
But I would also argue that the steaming pile of negativity that permeates the lead Chevy truck spot will have a lingering impact that will far outweigh any real or perceived benefits that the Chevy brain trust can piece together and lecture us about.
After all, these spots are supposed to be about promoting a new Chevy Silverado pickup that's making its debut in dealerships right now. And if the only thing that's being talked about incessantly is the lead commercial's controversial execution, instead of the truck itself, then they've all contributed to a huge "miss" in my book.
Thanks for listening, see you next Wednesday.
In the first pic he looks like Mark Karr of JonBenet fame.
That distinction should be held by Clinton, imho.
I've seen the doom and gloom version of the ad and it sucks.
Hell, GM should have shown Ted Kennedy's Oldsmobile !
I stopped listening to "johnny" ever since he went on tour to defeat Bush. I'll never forget the day he was booed at an Indianapolis Colts game in his home town.
They ought to mix scenes of the Miami-FIU football fight with images of their truck.
I don't like most TV ads. I really don't like most car ads and I've long disliked Chevy ads most of all.
So Chevy trucks are what makes America great? Maybe their next ad will show Chavez, Saddam and Kim driving Ford trucks.
The only two presidential ads I remember are LBJ's horrible "Mushroom Cloud" ad against Goldwater and Ronald Reagan's inspirational "Morning in America" ad. You would think that even the dolts who run GM could figure out that they would sell more Chevys and good will with the latter theme...but that's why they are losing billions every year.
bump for later
The downer ad is for leftists.
Chevrolet is playing both the Left and the Right. They are hoping that both sides see a part of their ad campaign that they like and will feel 'patriotic' and relate Chevy with the USA.
The truth is that GM has moved almost all their manufacturing to either Mexico or Canada. There are very few GM cars/trucks still built here in the USA.
GM is assuming the population in the USA is too stupid to really look for the truth, and are mindless CNN types that just believe what they see on TV.
I agree, but those guys aren't driving trucks. Therefore...
excellent point,but then again the old Olds...???...didn't float..and there's absolutely no truth to the rumor GM is thinking about introducing a new model with HUGE airbags for midnight drives called the "SWIMMER"
When "Johnny Cougar" changed his stage name to John Cougar Mellencamp, the lead singer of Philly trash-punk band The Dead Milkmen changed his stage name from Rodney Anonymous to Rodney Anonymous Mellencamp.
And John Mellencamp threatened him with legal action.
Looks more like Kristy McNichol in both photos.
How about all of the insurgents in Iraq and Afganistan driving their Toyotas with rocket launchers on the back.
Doesn't Chevy know that Leftists drive Prius's not big ol' gas-guzzling pickup trucks and SUVs? I was quite surprized because I thought the "Like a Rock" campaign was pretty good.
Oh, well, then a Camaro or something