Chrysler's Pacifica Ads Grow Mildly Risque, As All Minivan Ads Should

chryslers pacifica ads grow mildly risque as all minivan ads should

Of all the automakers embroiled in the Mad Men-era rush to plumb the psyches of American car buyers, Chrysler’s Dodge division stood head and shoulders above the rest in one key marketing element: sex. It sells, apparently, and Chrysler Corp. made sure to instill a little bit of it, overtly or subconsciously, into its print and TV advertising. As the circa ’66-67 “Dodge Rebellion” campaign gave way to 1968-70’s “Dodge Fever” gambit, the impact of the counterculture movement and America’s rapidly liberalizing attitudes soon became apparent in Dodge’s ad copy.

It was this era in Chrysler’s marketing history that spawned what’s arguably the most sexist (and psychosexual) car ad ever printed: Dodge’s 1969 Charger R/T ad, titled “The Eternal Triangle.”

These were sexy times for America, but even sexier times for Dodge, which had clearly grown too hot under the collar. The onset of the 1970s saw the brand put the tie-dyed shirt and address book in storage, trading its hedonistic copy for the far tamer “Dodge Material” campaign, and the rest is history (some of it quite embarrassing). Given this rich marketing heritage, it’s nice to see Chrysler attempt to spice up a family-oriented minivan with sex.

Two ads came out this week for the Chrysler Pacifica, one featuring comedic actress Kathryn Hahn (who’s now an FCA ad veteran), the other a continuation of the brand’s “Street Smarts” campaign.

It’s odd that both of these ads, released Wednesday, get a little suggestive in their content. As it’s 2018, we’ve grown used to car ads that feature, essentially, ourselves, our life goals, and our ideologies. Oh, and family, family, family. New car marketing, when it’s not pretentious, confusing, or maudlin, is usually eye-rolling or annoying in some other way. When an audience stands a chance of having fun, we notice.

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  • Luke42 Luke42 on Oct 19, 2018

    Does anybody under 60 ever watch TV commercials? I'm the target demographic for the Pacifica Hybrid (3 kids, own a minivan, former Prius owner, EV enthusiast), but this is the first I've ever heard of these commercials. The commercials are pretty meh. My minivan-driving friends are much more entertaining.

  • Brn Brn on Oct 19, 2018

    That's it. They've crossed the line. The shark has been jumped. Pigs are flying. We're now shooting vertical commercials??? I'm done!

  • Cprescott Look for this to be called a human right and for Washington to make it their business to run these places and charge you based upon your income.
  • Renewingmind The idea of a silent smell free world of vehicles sounds wonderful from a quality of life standpoint. Start with diesel trucks. Especially big ones. They are the worst offenders for fumes and noise.
  • DenverMike Pininfarina I know it's not related to this, I just like saying it.
  • Matt Posky I don't understand the appeal of fake meat and this seems to operate under a similar premise: You don't want the V8 because someone says it's bad for you. But you can have something designed to mimic the experience because that's what your body actually wants. The styling is cool I guess. But I don't understand why EVs don't just lean into what they are. Companies can make them produce any wooshing or humming noises they want. Buiding an entire system to help you pretend it still has a combustion engine seems a little lame.
  • DenverMike I'm sure it would have a volume control. It's nice to sneak into my neighborhood at 2am quietly. Or creep out, 4am. I don't get much sleep OK, but I always keep my V8 exhaust stock, as much as I love the sound of others loud. My stereo would make it pointless anyway.