Sunday, April 27, 2008

Welcome To The Party Pal! Car Commercials

About a fourth of the way through Die Hard, Sgt. Al Powell has completed his very lazy patrol of the Nakatomi Plaza. With Twinkies and his pregnant wife on his mind, he gets in his car and begins to pull away. From inside the car, we see a body fall from the building and smash through the windshield of his car, scaring the bejesus out of Sgt. Powell. The body was a very strong message sent from John McClane that there's some heavy shit going on in the Nakatomi Plaza that Sgt. Powell needs to know about. As the patrol car backs away amidst terrorist gunfire McClane yells out the line "Welcome To The Party Pal!" It's a good line and I use it often in life when someone finally figures out the obvious. There are lots of examples in Hollywood when someone should say "Welcome To The Party Pal!" Like when Paul Haggis says he has a dream about bad race relations in Los Angeles and decides to make a really heavy handed movie about it called Crash. But for me to talk about that in depth would be so ho-hum and unoriginal because I have bitched about that for quite some time as has everyone else.

So something more recently that's really irked me is the slew of car commercials promoting better gas mileage. Commercials for Kia and for Dodge where there are songs about people forgetting where the gas cap is located or even forgetting about gas altogether. Wow, a car that gets good gas mileage? Seriously? I mean, why not wait for a barrel of oil to reach $150 before promoting good gas mileage? Why not wait for gas to reach $4.00 a gallon? Why now? Europe has been making fuel efficient cars for close to 30 years now and here we are touting cars that get 34 miles per gallon. I love these car manufacturers who advertise better gas mileage like they invented it and broadcast it like no one was thinking about it before now. And you can sing all the songs you want, but 34 mpg ain't too much so you'll be thinking about gas a lot sooner than you think. Now go and invent a car that gets 50 mpg or better yet requires no gas at all and then sing your heart out. Sing until your lungs bleed. Until then, quit telling us what we already know and making it seem like some kind of revelation.


Megan said...

Fourth. Just sayin'.

I dimly remember my parents' 85 Honda getting 45 highway. It probably still does.

Those euros and their trains...

Piper said...

noted. and changed

Vida Blue said...

As a strategy, not so great.

As a commercial, very nicely done. It's creative and memorable, And whether or not you agree that 35 mph is all that special, it still sinks into your head and makes the point (or makes you believe) that it's better than most other cars.

And isn't that the job of advertising?

Piper said...

vida blue,

You've got a good point.

This isn't a bag against the advertising per se, just the direction.

The truth is, we're in deep shit and car companies are offering up hybrid SUVs? Come on. Last night I saw a commercial for a Subaru Forrester that said they redesigned it to be bigger and better.

But yes, in the slew of terrible choices out there, this is better.

Emily Blake said...

I pulled up to a gas pump yesterday and this guy in a van behind me honked and yelled at me. He said "I already paid to use that pump."

I said, "Why weren't you parked here?"

He said, "I forgot what side it was on."

And his car didn't even get good gas mileage.

Piper said...


I feel sorry for that man.

Garrett said...

is it still cool to have a hummer?

Megan said...

$3.98 9/10 for premium today.

Sorry I'm all picky about spelling. It gets to me. I'm dumb like that.

Fletch said...

Better yet, I laugh at the commercials for trucks/SUVs where they talk about high MPG...then you read the fine print and it says it gets 16/21. Oooooh - impressive! Or not.

Piper said...


No apologies. As a writer it's my nature to be a lazy speller.

Thanks for the heads-up.


I don't understand why anyone would buy a truck today. Unless they know something I don't about the world ending or gas prices going down.

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