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car ads

I hate car ads. I really, really, really hate car ads. I hate them in a number of different venues: radio, newspapers, television, and magazines.

First, a message to all the automakers in the world:

I DON'T WANT TO BUY A CAR.

When I decide I need to buy a car, I know where to find you. Trust me.

Radio Ads

You know the thing I find most annoying about radio ads? The 'auctioneer' voice that comes on and reads a nine-page legal disclaimer so quickly that there's no hope of understanding what's being said. The commercial spends thirty seconds breathlessly trying to sell cars, and then the Auctioneer tells you that the special deal you just heard about really applies only to one car that's sitting up on blocks behind the dealership, serving as a temporary home for a schizophrenic drifter and his flock of imaginary geese.

Newspaper Ads

When half my newspaper every day is composed of car ads, there's something wrong. Entire sections, mind you - whole lumps of wasted newsprint soaked in multicolored ink, screaming at me to buy a car. I recycle my newspapers, but it pains me to think of all the time, resources, and energy it takes to produce pounds and pounds of instant garbage.

Television Ads

These are the worst, I think, because they're such a grotesque barrage of images and sounds. These ads are someday going to completely consume broadcast television, I'm sure. They embody all the worst elements of mob psychology, obscene consumerism, and mass hypnosis in a hellish brew of blasting music, endless repetition and outright lies.

Tips for Those Trying To Sell Cars On TV:

  • You little guys out there - you know who you are - please don't make your own commercials. Trust me on this. Standing in your car lot in front of all the little waving flags and balloons doesn't make you seem friendly and trustworthy. On the contrary - it shows you up as a car hustler so cheap you won't even spend money on a decent ad. All of us know you're a hustler, so do us a favor and skip the homey little routine trying to make us like you. We don't and we won't.

  • Using popular songs to promote cars makes us mad at the musicians who prostitute themselves into being jingle writers for the auto industry - it doesn't make us want to buy a car.

  • Doing something stupid in a car and then blowing smoke about "professional driver - closed course - don't do this at home" is not cute or interesting, it's just stupid. The thought that goes through our minds is not "Gee! I want to buy a car and be stupid, too!" - it's more like, "Geez, what an idiot!"

  • You may as well stop with the legal disclaimers - after generations of being screwed over, lied to, and stuck with crappy vehicles that depreciate instantly and fall apart in the driveway, everyone on Earth knows that the car dealership's mission in life is to lure people into the showroom and then shag 'em like a tied yard dog in the back room. We all understand this, and you scroll sixteen pages of three-point text across the screen in half a second anyway, so what's the point?

Magazine Ads

When I'm sitting down reading National Geographic, I'm not thinking about buying a car. I'm learning about interesting things around the world, expanding my horizons, and enjoying the excellent photography. Sticking car ads in the magazine doesn't fool me for a minute, even when they're all dressed up as "rugged explorer" types and posing beside their freshly-waxed assault vehicle in the Serengeti. I can tell the difference, believe it or not, between an article on the apes of Gibraltar and a car ad.


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