Thursday, January 22, 2015

Advertising Critique - Chevrolet: Driving to a Different Tune

My previous blog post in which I critiqued a television commercial quickly shot up to my most-viewed blog post of all time, beating out a post I wrote in 2011 about RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 in a matter of days. One of my goals for 2015 was to write content less focused on myself and more geared toward entertaining a general audience, which it seems my latest blog post did. I'm going to try it again, because I love you and want you to love me back.

Chevrolet - Brag All You Want, I Still Thought You Were Ford

In case you didn't know, the Chevrolet Colorado won Motor Trend's 2015 Truck of the Year award. I'm no car guy, but even I'm vaguely aware that Motor Trend's awards are taken pretty seriously, mostly because the winners are always running commercials to remind us of their success.

To celebrate the win, Chevrolet commissioned this 30 second TV spot that shows off just how awesome they are:
Did you see that?! Did you see just how cool that guy at the end was?! Way cooler than the lame guy driving the sedan and listening to The Carpenters! Cool Guy doesn't listen to The Carpenters; cool, no-tie, fluffy-haired, young, trendy-suit guy drives a truck and listens to hip, new bands like AC/DC! Cool Guy is so cool that he even catches the eye of the older and wiser blond lady he passes as he exits the elevator. "I don't know where he's going to lunch," she thinks to herself, "but I bet he goes there in a black, sexy, award-winning truck."

Wait for it ... waaaiiit foooor iiiiit ...

This commercial is a clear-cut example of Chevrolet bragging with mostly style and little substance. Granted, winning "best truck of the year that's barely started" says a lot in a few words, so anyone looking to buy the best truck on the market learns everything they need to know ... at the end.

What bothers me the most is that we have no idea what this commercial is for until exactly half of it is done and gone, and over half of that half is spent listening to The Carpenters! If Chevrolet wanted you to be bored by The Carpenters' 1971 soft rock classic "Rainy Days and Mondays" (not just one, but two different types of very, very sad days), then they succeeded; I'm really, really bored.

Even after having seen this commercial a few times, each time it came on the television I found myself wondering "what the hell is the point of this concept? Why is the music following these guys everywhere they go?" The Carpenters' song starts out boring, then gets more boring with each version of it you hear, and AC/DC's otherwise epic introduction notes to "Back in Black" sound not just boring, but outright annoying when covered by an elevator muzak group and unemployed street folk group performing on Aladdin's magic carpet while peddling their likely worthless albums. It's only when the real AC/DC saves you from this crime against our eardrums that the commercial gets us pumped up enough to notice that it's trying to sell us something.

And exactly what is that something again? Perhaps the worst thing about this commercial is that, due to how hastily they mention the actual product, immediately after seeing it on TV, I wrote a note reminding myself to write a funny blog critique about "that one Ford Back in Black commercial."

Okay, so maybe I'm not a car guy who knows very much about Motor Trend, but the fact that I confidently mistook this commercial for a competitor's brand immediately after viewing it has got to say something about the commercial's ability to get its point across, right? The point I got from this commercial is that someone back at the advertising agency, who has never heard of an iPod, thought it would be cool if your music followed you.

The Takeaway

  • Quit bragging
  • Stop boring me
  • Get to the point already
  • Make it abundantly clear who you are

Agree? Disagree? Let me know below! And don't forget to sign up for my email list to get updates about my new posts right to your email!

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