Thursday, September 16, 2010

Does the Chrysler Corporation think I'm stupid?

Some things just bother me. Flips Flops in December, for one thing. Stores that carry Dr Skipper, but not Dr Pepper, for another. But here is one that REALLY gets to me. Nightly. Every time this dang Chrysler minivan commercial comes on , I want to do harm to the TV set.

Here's the deal: Chrysler is trying to lead us to think this commercial is about a young boy racing his friends home from school and using his mom's car at the end to win.

Here's the reality: This commercial was obviously filmed as a story about a boy trying to outrun the school bullies. He is rescued at the end by jumping into the rear door of the minivan.

Here's what pisses me off: The commercial was not changed VISUALLY, but one or two voice overs were added to change the "intent" of the story. Why? Did some wussy parents complain to Chrysler that showing bullies in all their shocking reality was inappropriate??

My obsession with this poorly presented commercial (that has been shown continually for months now) forced me to photograph key elements and present them here, so each time YOU see the commercial now, you can suffer as I do:

Here is our hero, Parker, a skinny little kid with big ears:
Commercial Intent: There is a cheesy voice over in this next scene of the friends (AKA - BULLIES) innocently asking Parker if he would like to race home today.

Commercial Reality: The bullies are telling Parker they are about to kick his ass if he doesn't get over there and give them his lunch money.

Parker has obviously been beat up before (look at the animal fear in those eyes!), and takes off in a split second:
The "friendly race" is on, with the bullies catching up to Parker as he races, weighed down by his backpack and memories, no doubt, of his last beat down:
Now, for some reason, Mom's Chrysler minivan rear door is up and ready for Parker. This tells me mom is already aware of the daily beatings her son endures and is prepared to receive him like this every day:
Now, I ask you, if "friends" are "racing each other home", what part does hiding in the back of a minivan play?
Commercial Intent: another cheesy voice over shows Parker's mother calling out a cheery "there you are!", as if her son casually jumps in the back of the minivan every day, as a matter of course.

Commercial Reality: Mom has no idea how the hell Parker managed to get in the car so fast. And why is he sweating profusely? And what are those kids behind the car doing?
The "friends" realize Parker has escaped their daily shakedown somehow:
Commercial Intent: Parker has "won the race" by hiding in the Chrysler instead of actually "racing home".
These alleged "friends" never talk to Parker once they see he's in the car. Parker's mother does not ask these hoodlums over for cookies and milk. They simply stalk around the Chrysler minivan while Parker hides inside like a little kitten:
Commercial Intent: Parker rolls down the window to show his "friends" he is in the car and on the way home.
Commercial Reality: Parker rolls down the window to gloat that he managed to escape the bully beat down.
The last image of the commercial is of the sullen bullies sitting on the schoolyard grass, flipping Parker off as he passes in his super duper bully proof Chrysler minivan:

Now, I personally think Chrysler should get rid of the lame voice overs and get the commercial back to it's OBVIOUS original intent, then package this car as a bully proof vehicle. But that's just me. Right?


BD said...

Thanks for this rundown and analysis. I loathe this commercial. I can't tell you how much. It's on constantly. I think your analysis is correct, but not to condone bullying, I've also seen Parker as a wussy little snitch.It would have been more interesting if girls had been chasing him.

I've never understood though, why mom is sitting in the mini-van with the hatch up. Some people have said, on the Commercials I Hate forum that she's sitting in the driveway, but I had the impression that she's in a nearby park. (I need to look closer).

Whatever, the commercial still makes no sense. I'm sure, though that the little actor playing Parker is packing in the residuals.

Lisa said...

I'm thinking that the mom was waiting to take the boy to ballet practice or some other equally bully-inspiring activity.

This commercial is just awful. It makes no sense whatsoever as is. It's obvious that they're supposed to be bullying him -- why else would you talk about the SAFETY features of the car?

Joan Klein said...

Thank you for your comments. I thought I was the only thinking this commercial glorifies bullying. I don't know how to complain to Chrysler but I am glad you are getting the word out!

J Klein

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this posting. I too have become obsessed with this commercial. I just saw it again, and googled Parker, race home, commercial and found your website. I so glad to know I'm not alone.

JustMe said...

yeah, I thought I was the only one bothered by this crappy commercial, until I finally blogged about it and discovered I am not alone! Thanks for the comments!

Evie Garland said...

I like to envision the meeting that must have taken place, after someone shot the commercial and was showing it the Chrysler people. And the one person that goes, "uh, didn't some kids get killed recently because of bullying?" and someone else says "But the mini-van SAVES him from bullying!" and they finally decide to ask the company lawyer what he thinks.

Evie Garland said...

oh yeah, and I f*cking hate this commercial!!

Rina said...

I HATE that commercial with a seething passion! And I hate when "Parker" (psh) sticks his tongue out. meh.

It is so obviously about bullying and I swear to God that the commercial USED To start with the three boys going "THERE HE IS GET HIM!" and then the race was on. After all the bully deaths started getting press suddenly the commercial was all like "HEY 'PARKER' LETS RACE" I'm just glad other people also saw this commercial for what it really is. I wish they would pull it from circulation entirely! Its insulting.

Anonymous said...

funny thing is, originally when I first saw this commercial they were bullies. It was cute. Now it's just obnoxious.

Anonymous said...

Trust me - there are SEVERAL commercials who have edited their "meaning" when the original didn't pan out like they thought. You ARE correct, the kids used to say "let's get him!" and they changed it.

ALSO: there is a debit card commercial that used to have a guy getting out of his car and NOT putting money in the meter with the meter maid a few cars down... they edited THAT one too.

Re-edited the jeep commercial where the annoying kid on a bike has to track down his Dad skateboarding. The kid was too much of a tool, they had to redo that one as well.

And don't forget how many "tell me about it's" they had on the new Maytag repair man.

Glad to see I'm not the only one annoyed by these commercial edits.

ONE LAST NOTE: does anyone remember the stupid Ford "Dude" commercial where they drive over the railroad tracks with coffee and HAVE TO PUT FAKE COFFEE CUPS TO ACHEIVE IT!

What ever happened to truth in advertising??

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I found this blog!!! That commercial had been driving me crazy!!!The explanation you gave is HALARIOUS!!!

JustMe said...

There's another commercial that annoys the crap out of me, but it's not run anymore - it was a Febreeze ad where the mom is spraying down the red headed teenagers room and they obviously (and poorly) dubbed in another voice over the actor. I'm glad to see so many others realize how cheap Chrysler looks now!

FoundyoubygooglingChryslerboyracingcommercial said...

I also HAAAATTEEE this commercial! Every time it's on I bitch about it to my husband. What's the point?? The storyline makes no sense to me.

Andrea said...

I wonder if Chrysler is doing this on purpose. They change the voiceover to placate the anti-bully crowd, but leave in all the obvious visuals so we KNOW it's a safe car, protecting us from bullies and lower middle class ruffians. It's like Chrysler is saying, "oh we'd NEVER make a commercial presenting bullying in a positive light, WINK!" while pointing at their eye. I hate this commercial also, for these reasons and also because I love baseball and it plays at least 3 times during every game. That chirpy piano tune will haunt me until the World Series is over!

Solarcide said...

YOu forgot about the part where he hides behind a tree. This commercial pissed me off the first time I saw it, and pisses me off every time I see it now. I will never by anything from Chrysler again.

Anonymous said...

All good comments. I think the mom behind the wheel may not be his mom at all but rather one of his mom's friends instead. Parker, realizing he is losing ground to the bullies sees the neighbor with the back of the car open and dives in seeking safety and surprises the woman behind the wheel then asks (in the original idea) if he could catch a ride to his house? She of course agrees and they go about their merry way.

However you see it the spot is a fail on all levels and I'm tired of seeing it an hearing that lame music track under the voice over.

Nat said...

I also hate this advertisement with a searing passion. Is there any way to make it go away? That would be fantastic. It ruins my limited TV time every evening.

ddabney67 said...

I am glad someone else noticed this. I thought I was imagining things.