General Motors Commercial Hits New Low
One of the most popular TV commercials right now is disgusting, absolutely stomach-turning. You know the one: A little boy is being taught to salute by his older brother. Then, just as Grandma and Grandpa (Gramps is wearing a Vietnam vet hat) step out onto the Norman Rockwell porch, a Chevy Equinox pulls up with Mommy at the wheel. Daddy steps out of the SUV in full camouflage. The little tot runs to him and salutes. Anthem-like music swells. A baritone voiceover says, “Bringing heroes home for generations. Just another reason Chevy runs deep.” Pardon me while I puke.
Look, I have no problems teaching little boys and girls how to salute. And I’m all for people buying American automobiles, but I find it appalling that in order to sell a gas-guzzling SUV we use war and soldiering and parental separation. Chevrolet has a long history of this, by the way. When I was about the age of the little boy in the commercial, Dinah Shore was singing “See the USA in your Chevrolet, America’s the greatest land of all.” In the 1970s they gave us a foot-tapping jingle about “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.” But their first step into murky waters was not long after 9/11 when they had John Mellencamp sing “This Is Our Country” as we watched a montage of kitchen-sink Americana—from Rosa Parks to first responders, small-town homecoming parades to Dale Earnhardt, county fairs to the twin tower memorial skylights. The message being, “if you’re a real American you’ll buy a Chevy.”
This recent spot hits a new low. It tells us that if we teach a little boy to emulate our servicemen and servicewomen, and if he honors them with a salute, then one day, if he’s lucky, if he can survive boot camp, ruthless enemies, land mines, and a diet of ready-to-eat tins of beef stew, he can, if he has decent credit, buy a goddamn car. Just another reason Chevy runs deep? Just another reason General Motors should be ashamed.
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