Someone Out There: Baby, you can drive my car p6 Nov 28/94

In this column, a consumer reflects upon experiences in the marketplace.Car ads aren't usually my favorite way to spend 30 seconds - how often can you watch a creamy vehicle hug that curve?But, recently there have been two car advertisers who...

In this column, a consumer reflects upon experiences in the marketplace.

Car ads aren’t usually my favorite way to spend 30 seconds – how often can you watch a creamy vehicle hug that curve?

But, recently there have been two car advertisers who have managed to catch my attention.

The first is Jaguar.

The Jag is my favorite car. Obviously, I won’t be buying one, but even if I had enough money for a fleet of Rollses, I’d still get a Jag instead. I just like the shape (the old rounder ones, not the current boxier ones.)

I don’t remember seeing Jag spots on tv before, so, this one probably would have caught my attention on the first go-round.

I would have watched the second time just because I enjoy looking at Jags. Then, that would have been it.

But, they threw me a curve: instead of a voiceover, they used a soundtrack. And it’s of one of my favorite songs, Etta James’ At Last.

So, now I have to sit and watch/ listen to the whole thing every time it comes on just to hear the song (even though I own the cd.) They’ve got me hooked, and I’m not even who they’re advertising to.

The other thing I like about this commercial is that it paints such a clear portrait in my mind of the person the spot was intended for.

I can just see that now-rich yuppy white guy whose self image of coolness is partially based on things like being down with the root music of a now-probably-impoverished black woman. And, partially, on owning a Jag.

From the sublime to the grassroot, the other commercial I’ve noticed recently is for Chevy trucks.

It may be a whole campaign, I’m not sure – I really haven’t been paying much attention since, being an inner city dweller, I won’t be buying a Chevy either – but, it did suddenly penetrate recently that Chevy was using the Bob Seger song, Like a Rock, and I thought, ‘Wow, what a perfect choice.’

I knew that American car and truck makers have spent the last few years trying to recover from charges of poor workmanship, so the song works as a reassurance that the product is up to scratch.

I knew they have been fighting off foreign competitors, so celebrating America was the way to go.

And there are few things more associated with the U.S. of A than a Chevy, and few performers more all-American than Bob. I believe he even hails from the Motor City.

Next, the people who buy Chevies are usually salt-of-the-earth types who, one might say, see themselves as the rock on which their beloved country is built, and, who, when they’re not parked in front of their tvs, are often down at the neighborhood bar listening to Bob Seger on the jukebox.

Finally, it’s a song that these potential customers already know, so when they hear that catchy hook, they’ll sing along – and, perhaps, be unable to get the words out of their heads until they find themselves down at the local Chevy dealership signing on the dotted line.