Chrysler's 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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