By Melinda Gordon, M.Ed
Making S.E.N.S.E. Media

I drive a Chevy Malibu Maxx, a great model that they don’t make anymore. But now I’m embarrassed to drive a Chevrolet.

I’m all for promoting American car companies and keeping jobs local. But how low do companies have to stoop? We know that’s a rhetorical question. In fact, advertising companies continue to scrape the bottom of the moral barrel just to prey on the sucker in every crowd, the vulnerable voice in all of us, and to a new naïve audience of children.

Chevy has just taken a giant leap backwards in their recent ad campaigns. The one that bothers me the most is their: “You know you want a truck” ad which uses “kids” “not actors.”

One way to get a child interested in something is by showing a child on TV they can relate to, in hopes that the convinced child will go begging their parents for the item advertised. But can your child really convince you of what car to buy?

This is so wrong on so many levels. They do show other focus groups in a tongue-in-cheek, almost spoof-like manner of single ladies, “mature” people, and men with beards. These are bad enough because they encourage (tell) them all to prefer the stereotyped macho man with a truck.

But they go too far when they elicit responses from kids that stereotype a man with a truck as having pets like a German Shepherd dog, snake, or lizard as opposed to Sedan Man having “birds or something.” Luckily, the comments on Youtube show at least some bird loving owners offended by the insinuation that they are not truck-worthy or macho enough.

When the stereotypes come out of the “mouths of babes” I cannot casually dismiss it with, “Kids say the darndest things.” I hope parents and people everywhere cringe at this condoning of yet another generation buying into masculinity stereotypes.

One has to be living under a rock, as this ad campaign proves, to not notice the redefinition of men’s preferences and how people might be offended if they are not fitting neatly into this man-to-truck ratio. I truly hope this campaign annoyed as many people as it did me and caused the promotion to backfire. My daughter wants to buy a truck because she is an organic farmer and needs to haul produce to the farmers’ market. Will there come a day when that image is used to promote trucks to the next generation? I won’t hold my breath though she and her peers living closer to the source of things and nourishment give me great hope.


About the Author:

Melinda Gordon started out as an artist, found it quicker to photograph and now combines that with video and editing. She was a supporter of Action for Children’s Television and only removed the blindfolds from her daughters’ eyes to watch educational TV. Somehow they caught up and now the tables have turned as they have become their mother’s moral compass. She writes to amuse herself.
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