The Chainlink

Last night while watching the Daily Show, this Acura car commercial comes on during a break. I wasn't paying much attention until I heard the phrase "Aggression, in its most elegant form." I stopped what I was doing, looked up noticing it was a car commercial and proceeded to replay the commercial not once but thrice. Its emphasis of the word aggression rubbed me the wrong way. It is aggressive drivers that scare me the most, posing the greatest threat to myself and others while being forced by law to share the same space. This commercial treats driving like some kind of game, where the driver is protected in his car like a football player is protected by his so called armor. That what is on the inside is still an aggressive beast but rewrapped to be more elegant on the outside, but that power is still there, and it is begging to be unleashed upon the opposition.

I get that Acura is taking advantage of Superbowl season, but the mentality that driving is a game, that one needs to win, to beat others, that attitude needs to change.

Anyway, I know I'm reading too much into this but than again, my experience whether riding a bike or driving a car, those in expensive automobiles are generally more aggressive drivers who are of the opinion their time is way more important than my life. "Because if you aren't a winner than you are worthless to me, so get the *&^%$ out of MY way." 

All I can hear now while watching this commercial is a bunch of cheerleaders yelling "Be aggressive, be e aggressive!" I don't hate cars, just the people who drive them, aggressively. 

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This commercial always makes me a little queasy for the reasons you give.

You're not reading too much into it, Ryan.  The commercials message is obvious.  Car culture is sick, and it breeds sick drivers.  

Now let's rock

Yow. Just. Yow.

Car culture poop.

I smell desperation.

http://www.torquenews.com/1063/2012-acura-tsx-posts-record-sales-ac...

I wish that at least a tally of daily deaths by automobile would be reported on the news. 115 people die in this country every day, and 3300 worldwide, in automobile crashes.

When a handful of people are killed by a whacked out gunman, a national debate is sparked on the use of pointed language and its role in fostering violence.  When 3 or 12 people go down in a plane, the entire country hears about them in detail for the better part of a week.  Automotive violence-- the invisible killer.

I've been wondering for a while why if it is ok to ban cigarette commercials entirely, and severely limit the content of alcohol commercials, why can't we do the same for car commercials? Let's regulate aggressive or speed promoting car commercials out of existence.

Elegantly stated, Ryan.  Another problem with this commercial is that it reinforces, quite intentionally, the inaccurate and dangerous notion that "you are your car."  I think if you polled the average consumer on what qualities make for a good car, "aggression" would not be a ranking response.  It'd be interesting to hear from the Acura's marketing department exactly what (or whom) this car is intended to be aggressive against.   

Not to mention the music. Ah pretentiousness, you know no bounds. Arg, they could have used the word "power" for fuck sake.

I really hate the advertising machine. Not as much as I hate what happened to the world after MTV aired the first Real World though. That and all the self serving bastard politicians, financial institutions, etc, etc. Humans make me sad sometimes. 

I miss Living Colour.

+1

Steve Courtright said:

This commercial always makes me a little queasy for the reasons you give.

The aggression isn't directed to anyone in particular. Aggression equals dominance. Car brands like Acuras are marketed on the premise that they give you dominance over other road users.  What they are really saying is "Buy this car and you too can be the top-dog. You too can be the alpha-male". And when you're an alpha male, you get to mate with the best females and be successful by procreating. I believe car marketing is successful because it plays on peoples most primal instincts.

Of course, that is until you drive off the dealer lot and promptly get stuck in traffic just like everyone else.

Melissa said:

Elegantly stated, Ryan.  Another problem with this commercial is that it reinforces, quite intentionally, the inaccurate and dangerous notion that "you are your car."  I think if you polled the average consumer on what qualities make for a good car, "aggression" would not be a ranking response.  It'd be interesting to hear from the Acura's marketing department exactly what (or whom) this car is intended to be aggressive against.   

I'm not a fan of those commercials either.  Nor am I a fan of the ones that encourage people to drive fast in the snow because they have AWD. 

I do like this commercial though

 I loathe ads like that, and print ads as well, even when they're not touting aggression, just glorifying the car. The statistics about how much of American society's resources are used in making, selling, storing and disposing automobiles are mind-boggling.

 

Which is why I read with some dismay today that People for Bikes/Bikes Belong, a bicycle advocacy group, announced they're forming a partnership with Volkswagen. (Edit: Use link below) I know that money is needed by advocacy groups, and as car companies go, VW is maybe not the worst of them, but still.

 

http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/volkswagen_announces_two-y...

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