As Detroit was skipping a decade or two of car R&D by concentrating on packing increasing numbers of 128-ouncer-ready cup holders and faux-wood trim into big trucks, it became necessary to make it clear to the targeted buyer demographics that these trucks really weren’t, you know, trucks. In fact, they were more about protection from street crime and potholes than anything else, which is where slapping Mercury badges on the Explorer and Oldsmobile badges on the Blazer came in.
Who better to show off the Blazer’s— wait, make that the Bravada’s— civilized nature than Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter? Right! Sure, the good ol’ Olds 98 got better mileage, was much more comfortable, and smoothed out bumpy roads better than any truck, but so what?
By 2002, focus groups had made it clear that residents of suburban Fear Enclaves felt that sport utility vehicles somehow shielded them from the depredations of urban criminals, and so this ad for the