Wednesday, October 28, 2015

If your car's so great, why the need to show another vehicle?

Have you ever noticed how many bicycles appear in car commercials? Here is an example:

Of course, car commercials are fiction, often showing us cars doing things that we shouldn’t try doing with a car and would void our warranty if we did. But the goal of many car commercials is to sell this idea that, if you buy this particular car, life will be fun. You won’t have to mess with traffic. You’ll have three friends riding with you. You’ll be able to go places and do things that you couldn’t do without it. The image that sells that idea the most is…a bicycle.

The fact is, the car they show you in the commercials doesn’t exist. I don’t mean because it is loaded with all the options, but because you won’t find a car to give you the feeling of excitement that they promise in the ads. Not in the city anyway. Sure, you can load up your car with a bunch of friends and drive through downtown, but instead of looking at the city lit up at night, you’re busy watching for pedestrians, or for the traffic lights. You reach your destination and you aren’t walking on red carpet but paying the valet or searching for a parking garage that isn’t too far away. And then there’s the everyday use. Mostly, what you are doing is driving between stoplights and waiting, unless you get away from city traffic.

To get around reality, car marketers throw a bicycle or two into the commercial. We all know that bicycles are fun. If you see a car at a stoplight with a bicycle on top, you know the driver is either going to or coming from doing something fun. So what if he’s now just sitting there sucking up the exhaust fumes of the car in front of him? At some point in his life, he did something fun.

It seems to me that instead of buying these little cars, people ought to either drive a truck or buy a bicycle. Buying a bicycle is cheaper, but if you have the money, buy both.

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