A View From The Handbasket

Monday, January 23, 2006
Manliness estimated. Your surrogate phallus may vary.
Posted by neros_fiddle at 12:14 PM
If you're looking for some cheap entertainment and have access to the device from The Fly, you could probably do worse than to crawl around on the walls of GMC's ad agency. This is just a guess, but the cognitive dissonance must be reaching near-critical proportions by now and the whole place is about to go up in a conflagration of lattes and Herman Miller chairs.

The standard-bearers of GMC ads these days include:

1) Pictures of GMC trucks laboring manfully in epic CGI-generated construction sites, as the manly voiceover intones (this is from memory and might not be 100% accurate): "You might not be building the next great suspension bridge, or the next gigantic sports stadium, or leveling the rainforests, or pooping out Wal-Marts as far as the eye can see, but YOUR TRUCK COULD BE." Cut to a manly man and his manly young son, watching the construction equipment as little boys like to do. They get into an enormous GMC truck and rumble off in a cloud of testosterone.

2) A montage of various GMC models, with captions telling you the competing truck brands that get inferior fuel economy. The manly voiceover (which sounds a bit less sweaty than the previous ad) says the GMC trucks "go the extra mile." Tiny disclaimer text at the bottom of the screen helpfully points out the actual fuel economy numbers they're bragging about -- about 14 MPG in most cases.

So, they're saying these trucks are overkill for normal people, are useful mainly for pretending you're a construction worker, and get terrible mileage, but there are trucks out there that get even worse mileage, so you might as well get a GMC if you want to waste gas on your macho stadium-building fantasies. (The relationship between manliness and fuel mileage isn't explored far enough, however. Are these trucks that guzzle even more gas somehow more macho? Is GMC suggesting that their trucks offer the best compromise between manliness and fuel economy? More research is needed.)

I assume the corporate message is still being refined and will make a bit more sense in the coming months.

I also enjoy the ad where a bright red Mitsubshi Raider truck (a rebadged Dodge) with huge fender flares and other macho accessories makes a less manly truck piss itself with fear. When I drive to work in the morning, terrorizing my fellow commuters is important to me, so I appreciate Mitsubishi addressing those concerns in their ads.

I went to Mitsubishi's web site to enjoy the intimidation, and learned that the big 4.7L V8 in the Raider makes 230 horsepower. I then went to the Nissan site to laugh at the Frontier (the truck featured wetting itself, though it's not named in the ad). Turns out the Frontier's 4.0L V6 makes 265 horsepower.

Sounds like someone's overcompensating...

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