By on November 6, 2018

Dodge recently launched a 30-second commercial as part of Fiat Chrysler’s new “Big Finish” advertising campaign. While a competent bit of marketing, it falls into the trap of deploying holiday marketing immediately after Halloween.

On the surface, it has everything you’d want from a Christmas-themed car ad. Professional wrestler, former NFL player, and American icon Bill Goldberg makes an appearance as Santa while dwarves install a 6.2-liter Hemi into his sleigh. The Butt Rock comes on strong, accented by angle grinders and relentless engine revving until Santa’s new ride is completed. They even put antlers on the Hellcat logo. It’s stupid and awesome but also way too early for this.

We’re willing to forgive FCA. The automaker has been pretty good about not making commercials that make us strangle anyone of late. Frankly, that’s more than we can say about some of the other domestic nameplates. 

 

With a few exceptions, Dodge’s ads for 2018 have been some of the least annoying on offer from the industry. Rather than attempting to inject some kind of smug philosophy or faux sentimentality, Fiat Chrysler’s meanest marque has relied upon goofball humor and footage of its cars ripping up the streets. There are a series of television spots for “The Brotherhood of Muscle” that equate childlike antics with go-fast cars that make loud noises. But that particularly theory isn’t too far off the mark, so even those particular spots are a little lacking.

The rest have been dumb (yet satisfying) romps that don’t take themselves remotely seriously — which is a much-appreciated departure from the norm. One of the best features a young man who is apparently working as Alice Cooper’s assistant. In the spot, you watch him speed across town in a growling Dodge Durango to accumulate black items for the venerable rocker’s dressing room. However, when Alice finally shows up in full makeup, he asks him, “What’s with all the black?”

Like a lot of Dodge ads, the humor is a total groaner. However, as with every terrible dad joke, it still makes you smile involuntarily.

 

We’d love to see other domestic automakers follow suit, especially Chevrolet. It continues using the “Real People” formula, despite the presence of a more-popular YouTube channel devoted almost entirely to satirizing it. Chevy’s ads are terrible and why they haven’t adapted yet is beyond us. Meanwhile, Buick and GMC’s television appearances have been infrequent and largely forgettable.

Ford’s ads have been better. While the business is openly focusing on modernity and future tech, to the chagrin of some, its most recent television spots primarily featured F-Series trucks hauling classic Americana. They’re not consistently enjoyable, but they do occasionally fool you into tapping your foot or feeling nostalgic about the brand.

 

In the end, we’re of the mind that building a superior product is far more important than shooting a good commercial. But we are also not the general public, who seem to agree with us on who has the best ads and are more easily swayed by a clever TV spot. Besides, if you’re paying loads of money to market your vehicles, why not do it effectively? It’s like Dodge is the only domestic badge that still realizes that it’s supposed to be selling cars.

[Image: FCA]

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17 Comments on “Dodge Is Undoubtedly the Domestic Brand With the Best Commercials...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    “It’s like Dodge is the only domestic badge that still realizes that it’s supposed to be selling cars.”

    And, surprise surprise, it’s the only domestic badge that’s having much luck selling CARS. Albeit only the large variety. I expect the volume of their L-platform triplets to at least be sustained, if not improve, as their competition wither on the vine and fall to the ground.

  • avatar
    NoID

    Personally, I’m wondering if they’ll manage (or even attempt) to re-badge the Fiat stable in the US and improve sales. The 500X is arguably one of the best CUVs in its class, as is the 500 in its class of tiny rollerskates (which isn’t saying much.) The 124 Spider could certainly fill a niche that Dodge/Chrysler have left unfilled. The 500L…OK, that ugly sister needs a serious makeover, and if Mazda can’t keep it’s quirky 5 alive I don’t think there’s hope for anyone else in the MPV segment.

    I’d say make them all Chryslers to give that brand a chance at survival. With the right marketing campaign, it could work.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I’ve said it before, they should re-body the 500L as the 2006 concept Dodge Hornet. It would fit in with the “macho HP” Dodge storyline, and give the Dodge dealers an entry level car to sell. As much as I dig the Hellcats, not everyone can afford one.

      Or, re-body the 500L with sliding doors and reboot the original Caravan. Or maybe a modern Colt Vista. I think either one would be attractive to young families or old folks looking to replace their now huge minivans…

  • avatar
    ajla

    Stone Cold >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Goldberg

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    It’s not just their commercials, it goes back to old interviews with Gilles and other SRT group guys for the last decade. They seem to have some genuine joy in what they do and it spills over into their commercials. I don’t know if it will help them be competitive in the long run, but it sure makes me root for them.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      Joy is a pretty good word for it. I think the difference for FCA is that the attitude in SRT bleeds over the the big house, and the fact that the big house contains every arm of the corporation under one roof helps concentrate that spirit.

      It’s pretty cool that you can guy a 300 HP V6 coupe that has DNA from an 840 HP V8 monster. The market seems to agree.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Let’s be honest if you were on the team designing and engineering the current Malibu would you really have any interest in your work?

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        Interest, yes. When I worked in the supply base I was looking forward to being able to point on the street at the new 5- and 7-pass SUVs I was designing driveline parts for and say “I made that!”

        Passion on the other hand…nope. I worked very diligently and was proud of my work, but it wasn’t something I was really excited to talk about.

        Working for the performance arm of an auto company is a while other ballgame. I never want to go back to the humdrum of passenger car/truck development (while recognizing that career development will likely require it at some point.)

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I admit I lol’d at Santa’s Challenger. And yes, Chevy’s Real People adds are terrible. 5 people I’ve never heard of saying “This seems kind of OK” is just not compelling.

    • 0 avatar
      ravenuer

      So sick of those brainless Chevy ads. “Oooh, a truck”. “Oooh, 5 kids?”. Almost as bad as the Toyota “Grounded to the ground” ads from a few years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        Sorry, little was worse than those Subaru ads from a while back. Like the one where they took the old Forester out to the country to abandon it when it was too old to repair. Or the one with the stoner who forgot his sunglasses were in his hoodie, so they drove all over kingdom come looking for them. Or the horrible treacle one where they’ll “donate” some amount of money to a charity when you buy a new car from them. Sure, let me add that donation amount to your cost, but, yeah… a donation.

        Putzes.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    “It’s like Dodge is the only domestic badge that still realizes that it’s supposed to be selling cars.”
    That’s because it’s all Dodge has. And there all BIG and muscle-y like the Santa in the commercial.
    Let’s sell a pick-up…Oh, well Ram’s a separate division now.
    Let’s sell a capable off-roader…Nope that’s a Jeep – which has the widest array of cars in all of FCA.
    Let’s sell some small cars…*crickets*
    Yes, Dodge has turned into a one-trick – We need to stuff more HP under the hood – pony

    And as more of a GM Fan – the “real people not actors” ads are stupid and annoying. When they first started there was at least a thin veneer plausibility around them, now they’re just ridiculous. The only reason they are “real people not actors” is because they haven’t gotten their SAG/AFTRA cards yet.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Ford or FCA needs to cast “Mahk” in a commercial.

    For those who love his take on Chevy, it would make for a commercial worth watching.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    With the exception of the MLK Super Bowl ad, FCA has had the best car commercials for a long time now.

    I particularly appreciated the series with the portrayals of John and Horace Dodge enjoying modern-day Dodge products, I thought that was a neat idea that paid homage to the brand’s roots.


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