A View From The Handbasket

Monday, September 24, 2007
Mutually Assured Hyperbole
Posted by neros_fiddle at 12:56 PM

Many months ago, I posted about various television ads that took the truck-as-surrogate-phallus theme to new, um, lengths.

But I hadn't seen anything yet.

While Chevy has stayed mostly on the sidelines with feel-good patriotic treacle, Ford and Toyota have been engaging in a dizzying battle to see who can make the most outlandish and impractical demonstration of how omnipotent and indestructible their big trucks are.

(As an aside, Toyota has been running some amusing ads for their slightly less huge Tacoma trucks that parody this sort of thing, with Tacomas getting hit by meteors and surviving huge robot dinosaur car crushers. So some arms of Toyota's ad agency are getting as exasperated about this as I am.)

Recently, I've been seeing this Ford ad where they stick a Ford pickup truck in a cargo plane, land the plane, and dump the truck out the back tied to a big chain. Then the truck uses its brakes to stop the plane on the runway. Then some guy tells me how great it is to know that your truck could stop a plane with its brakes.

This must be the sort of thing that the people who buy these big trucks worry about. "If I get chained to a runaway cargo plane, will my brakes be up to the job? Or will the guys with F-150s laugh at me as I careen off the end of the runway?"

The Toyota Tundra ads are just as dumb, though not quite as over-the-top ridiculous as this one. Though I imagine they'll have to up the ante to match Ford. I predict an ad where a Tundra prevents the space shuttle from launching with a rope tied around its side mirror while a gravel-voiced narrator says, "Whoa, nellie!" or "Happy birthday!" or something like that.

The punchline is that sectors of the media constantly deride hybrid cars as "marketing hype" and "just about showing off," as if the people buying them are victims of brainwashing. Truly, *any* consumer product can justifiably have this accusation hurled at it, but it seems particularly apt for these overbuilt monuments to four-wheeled excess.

0 comments on this post