Are the Dodge Boys Sexually Conflicted?
Ladies' Home Journal, Parenting, Better Homes & Gardens, In Style, Cookie Magazine, Cooking Light, Domino, Health, Home, Nick Jr. Magazine, Pregnancy, Self, Working Mother and Babytalk. In case you were thinking Mr. Karesh's review of the new all-new Dodge Caravan indicated that Chrysler is targeting its Man-Van at a male demographic, those are the mags that will feature ads for the people mover. And yet, this Sunday, right in the heart of NFL TV time, The Dodge Boys are running ads showing Man-Van family bonding (with Dad at the helm) to entice "young families" into their Caravan of love. Is Dodge having problems with its sexuality? Perhaps. Remember the brouhaha about the Dodge Caliber, the fairy and the [alleged] fairy? Another clue: at the same time it's rolling out it's Man-Van, Dodge is introducing their new tagline. They're trading "Grab Your Package And Drive a Muy Macho Dodge You Horny Bastard" (or something like that) to the deeply androgynous "Grab Life." Yes, and then what?
Yes, fahrvergnugen and Martin, The marketers in Manhattan do define style for the vehicularly insecure. But remember, it is those insecure consumers who feel so good when they sit up in their SUV's with their commanding view of the roadway...and that's some big segment of the market. On sexuality and cars. My experience has always been that certain cars attract certain kinds of girls: When I was an undergrad I had a white Bunny convertible - chick car and chick magnet - it never failed to attract really cute girls...like Lee, who was cute, perky and creative. I had Bimmers forever after school, they always attracted preppy girls...like Patty, who was cute, a bit less perky but from old money. The SVX's attracted weird, quirky girls...Michelle was the typical one with the SVX. She loved post-modern art, SAlsa dancing and trips to Vietnam. The Ferrari attracted girls more expensive to keep than was the Cavallino Rampante itself...pick the Average 30-something Rhode Island female who has been married several times and can't figure out why and you'll understand. By the time I got the Outback it was too late anyway: a girl had me followed by skis, horses, Airedales and a baby. Now that I am single again, the Legacy GT attracts your basic, somewhat athletic all-rounders - which is pretty good for this stage of life. The best girl car I ever had, though was the Alfa. A GT 2000. It attracted Jane who didn't care what it was because it was cute and, well, if it didn't feel like starting right now we could certainly find something to do together until it did feel like starting (I frequently didn't mind the whims of Spica fuel injection). It is to my great dismay that I let both of those wonderful creatures (Jane and the Alfa) slip through my fingers.
All that Alfa talk makes me want to cry. I miss my Alfa spider and I am seriously thinking of getting an old GTV6. Man an old GT sounds so cool, except without the Spica fuel injection, talk about a pain to tune. Ironically the Alfa is the most reliable car I have ever owned, 10 years and almost 200K miles.
Yeah! It was cool! Meaty Personal Wood-rimmed wheel. These great headrests that cranked up out of the seatback. Again, on toothed wooden supports. Dark blue with tan leatherette and the constant small of ethylene glycol (working on it's endless mission to get into the oilways) and the Spica ambient temperature adjustment lever that you could fiddle with and, Viola!, she'd start up again. God! What a ride!
How is any of this different from automakers (all, not just Dodge, not just the Not So Big 3) marketing SUVs as Minivans That Dad Can Drive Without Shame, third-row seating and all? Aside from the logo, of course... After all, if you're going to drive the thing in Baja carrying all your stuff, who needs the All Important Third Row Seating? Tom.