5.19.2011

the chicken & the marketing

The Mountain Man and I have been looking for a new car. We’re going to wait as long as we can before buying one, but we’ve pretty much settled on the car we’re going to get. It’s been an adjustment to get used to the concept of a bigger car. My little car is driving itself right into its grave, and the truck isn’t really a good fit for a car seat.

In the process of looking for a car, we decided that we wouldn’t even look at one Popular Car Brand. They have a great wagon, everyone drives them and loves them. They are big enough for the Mountain Man to fit into (at 6’ 5” he has a hard time fitting into most cars. In my car he only fits if the moon roof is open.) and they have a cavernous trunk, which fits our needs perfectly.

But we won’t buy that car, because we don’t want to be the cliché family in the commercial.

We’re a young, hip(?) couple; we camp, hike, bike, picnic and kayak. We take road trips and drive hours out of our way on rough dirt roads to enjoy the quiet solitude you can only find in the middle of nowhere. We will someday have a dog that we’ll take camping with us. We care about the environment. (Yet this car, marketed to “crunchies” has poor fuel economy!?!) We wear layers of cotton and wool and fleece. We lose our sunglasses because we live in the Pacific Northwest and use them infrequently. We wear socks with our sandals – only when necessary. We wear hiking boots outside and then put our Birkenstocks on when we get back to the car after a long hike. We shop at REI and Backcountry. Our cars go off road and get dirty. We live the lifestyle sold by the Popular Car Brand, so we refuse to drive that car. On principle.

We are the family in the Popular Car Brand commercial.

But here’s my question: Did that family influence the Popular Car Brand’s marketing, or did the marketing create the family?

We refuse to be the family pulling up to the campsite in their Popular Car Brand vehicle and unloading our bikes, baby, dog, tent, etc. We refuse to live the label. Or maybe it’s OK, because the family in the commercial is a young couple with their friends and their dog – not their kids. Maybe we’ve already broken the cliché? Not broken enough, I think.

As perfect as the car may be for our lifestyle, we can’t bring ourselves to try it. We just can’t live the cliché life and drive the car that is assigned to the cliché. But did they build the car for the lifestyle, or did the lifestyle evolve around the car? Which came first – the chicken or the marketing campaign?

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