Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
June 1, 2011

More War Branding: Chevy Brings Heros Home

Chevy Bring Heros Home ad 3

No, this Chevy ad doesn’t have the buzz factor of the subtle Bud “Gay’s in the military” tribute, it just panders straight out. It’s one thing for me to rant, of course, but it’s the soldiers and vets in this Military.com thread that are largely taking exception. Writes greywolfghost (quoted by Bergy46):

I am absolutely opposed to this type of advertising and have emailed the company to express my displeasure. Veterans should not be used by any company to help improve sales. I am absolutely beside myself about this and will not budge.

Certainly, there is the audacity of tagline…

“Bringing Heros Home for Generations. Just Another Reason … Chevy Runs Deep”

…but really, who actually know where the Pentagon ends and Chevy begins?

Flag Chevy commercial

You’ve got to appreciate the near-full-screen “flag-flation” near the opening which is so innocuous as to be almost subliminal.

Chevy Bring Heros Home ad 2

Hat tip, too, to the demographic play using Viet vet Grandpa (and is Grandma wearing a service-related pin?) as a bookend to the vet Dad.

Chevy Bring Heros Home ad 1

Then, look: the neighbor across the street (just beyond the duffle bag) is flying Old Glory, too.

More particularly, I’m wondering about the modest front yard of what looks like a middle or lower-middle class California tract house. Maybe, considering the brutal California recession, Mom and the kids had to move in with Grandma and Grandpa while Dad was away?

Chevy Commercial salute

Of course, nothing like using little Mikey to tug at the heartstrings.

John john salutes

(Or, is it John-John? as a YouTube commenter, @doubanjiang, picks up).

Chevy commercial dad kid

But then, the weakest note has to do with how the producers missed the obvious emotional, as well as military logic of how a soldier — still another one, of course, in the requisite cammo — would have responded to the gesture from his kid. Writes onovakind67, also in the YouTube thread:

A Marine like me would have dropped the duffel bag and gave him my best one.

But then, how much reality do you really need when it comes to brand ID siphoned from the endless war?

Video: Chevrolet 2011 Mofilm Tribeca Winner | The Salute | Chevy Runs Deep

  • black dog barking

    “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.” So went the 1953 congressional confirmation hearings quote that has since dogged the legacy of General Motors president Charles Erwin Wilson. In fairness to Mr Wilson, the quote was lifted out of context, for his next words were “and vice versa”.

    Kinda hard to see the “vice versa” here. The joyful reunion is the end node of a chain of events triggered in measurable part because of grievous miscalculations that promoted the welfare of GM’s gas guzzling SUVs, decisions that ended up committing American armed forces to protect our access to Asian guzzling material, decisions that took this man from his family.

    • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

      Interesting, though, how part of the Mad Ave methodology involves
      keeping these previous advertising adages/Memes/homilies in play. I
      was alive back then but still, the “what’s good for” meme is somehow
      there, waiting to get activated, in my brain.

  • Amir Goy

    It’d be a lot more realistic if it were a hearse…

  • Anonymous

    The fact that the wife is driving is very discordant, especially among political conservatives.  The man of the house does the driving, thank you very much and don’t you forget it.  So the ad is not targeted at conservatives, but at women in general, particularly single mothers in reduced circumstances.  She’s so breezy getting out of the car that it seems likely that the older couple are her parents, not his.  If they were his parents, she’d be more formal, and it would be even more likely that he would be the driver.

    The spot has a rehearsed feel, despite how cute the little boy is. A child that age seeing a long-absent parent would forget all about miilitary correctness and just run out. 

    The tag line Bringing Heros Home for Generations. Just Another Reason … Chevy Runs Deep has an ambiguous meaning if the targeted demographic is indeed single women with children.  The underlying message is to bring home a man that your kids will accept and acknowledge, even if they can’t be expected to love him.  .  .  This soldier is generically handsome so that he’s only peripherally part of the family.  Grandma may be delighted with him because she’s been so worried about her daughter being out on her own so long.  And Grandpa with the Vietnam hat gives an approving nod.

    The commercial won a critic’s award but I’m not sure it sells the product.  Women aren’t thrilled to see their boys express an interest in joining the military, as implied by the older boy’s knowledge of correct saluting.  Do they really welcome the possibiility of a long separation from their own son?  It’s a discordant element among self-sufficient single Moms, just as her driving is a discordant element among conservatives.  Sentimental as Hell, but not so hot selling Chevys.

    • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

      Perhaps the “discordance” is the commercial “going both ways,” just
      like the Bud ad, working all the macho and hyper-cinservative
      symbolism but also countering it at the same time. God knows there is
      a river of ambivalence in the marketplace to also tap into. The wife
      driving is key there too. With the trauma imposed on our troops (and
      the national psyche) the past ten years, this gesture might be an
      acknowledgment of diminished circumstances in “our boys,” in “macho”
      us (ego-wise and economically) and in Detroit, as well.

  • black dog barking

    Mad Men are experts at reaching into our imaginations and pulling these strings, not to our benefit. 

    That my misapprehension about “Engine Charlie” Wilson’s statement is so easily fixed (but isn’t) should raise some flags. Is there a connection with the soiled reputation and the fact Wilson slashed Pentagon budgets during his term as SecDef? 

  • black dog barking

    Mad Men are experts at reaching into our imaginations and pulling these strings, not to our benefit. 

    That my misapprehension about “Engine Charlie” Wilson’s statement is so easily fixed (but isn’t) should raise some flags. Is there a connection with the soiled reputation and the fact Wilson slashed Pentagon budgets during his term as SecDef? 

Refresh Archives

Random Notes