Commentary: Exploring #TheNew

2014 Chevrolet Impala LT 1
#TheNew… Photo by Randy Stern

There is a lot to be said about a television commercial.

If you consider the millions of dollars spent on a minute or two to capture our attention away from the lopsided Super Bowl, could you remember which commercial you enjoyed? Or, was there a commercial that still resonate with you?

For me, it was the Maserati commercial that provoked many questions about the brand's approach to gaining traction in this market. For a company that normally has a global marketing approach, Maserati's Super Bowl spot was decisely American. Perhaps it was apt for the Trident’s to use Quvenzhane Wallis' voice and image, as she guided us through the climax – her uttering the word "strike" cueing the sound and fury of the new Ghibli sedan.

Maybe we were puzzled by a coherent Bob Dylan's tale of American industrial and cultural values leading to the 2015 Chrysler 200? Perhaps Chevrolet's delivery of a bull stud to get the first cow's eye off of the trailer – pulled by the 2015 Silverado HD pickup nonetheless.

However, the National Football League's ultimate contest had some competition. If you watched the NBC broadcast of the opening ceremonies of the 32nd Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, you saw a different kind of automotive commercial.

Before we get into the "what" of the two ads, consider one thing about Chevrolet. No matter which advertising agency held their account or whomever the spokespeople were for the brand, there has always been one common thread that kept our attention on the bowtie.

Chevrolet is Americana.

Chevrolet has always reflected the vales of its home nation. The dulcet tones of Dinah Shore singing "Come see the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet" beckoned us to do exactly that. Years later, we were reminded that Americana has four ingredients: "Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet." Another decade proclaimed that Chevrolet was indeed the "Heartbeat of America."

One should not be surprised by the brand's approach to #TheNew. It is Americana as it is today. We have gone beyond Dinah Shore and "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie" and such. Today's America is diverse – it always had been. To honor the brand’s place in America, the latest campaign focused on what has changed in America while honoring what remains.

The campaign launch spot revolves around the idea of love, "can-do" and community spirit. These American tenets are shown with new visuals – a male couple jumping over the broom at a wedding ceremony, for example. Have we ever seen this in American advertising on the terrestrial networks or basic cable/satellite?

If you watch through the entire minute-long spot carefully, you will see the new Americana ending with an old tenet. The spot ends with a returning Navy veteran photobombing a family photo, only to surprise them at the end.

However, Chevrolet delves deep into #TheNew by showing different kinds of families for their Traverse ad called "#TheNewUs." No advertising agency would ever touch many of the images supporting Chevrolet’s big Lambda crossover – single parent households, same-sex couple led households, older parents with young children, families of multiple ethnicities and cultures…and so forth.

In furthering the theme of #TheNew, each new vehicle spot shows a new twist on American life. These new stories add context to the idea of Chevrolet being the all-American brand that can laugh at itself, stir emotions and discourse about itself, the marketplace and society at large.

This is truly a bold step for Chevrolet to do. Bolder than Dinah Shore and all marketing campaigns afterwards.

To bring the campaign full circle, Chevrolet is encouraging owners and non-owners alike to show what #TheNew means to…you. By using social media and the hashtag, Chevrolet would share these thoughts and ideas on their channels to their fans and followers.

This prompted me to think…what do I consider #TheNew? Better still, what if I made a Chevrolet commercial with the hashtag?

Challenge accepted? Let me explain by not shooting the commercial or using any storyboards…

#TheNewMuscle: That could only mean using the Australian-made Chevrolet SS – and rightfully so! It would start with pulling up to Road America on a partly cloudy morning. It would be ready to take the track form the pit lane only to meet the green light onto the course. Then, it would be nightfall and I have the hottest guy off of Growlr in the passenger seat. Could this be a post-track day date in Madison, Milwaukee or Chicago? That SS is looking shiny and ready for a night out on the town. Oh, and we looking stunning, too! No, but, wait, I have a few turns to go in my lap! As soon as I complete the lap, I turn into pit lane only to be greeted by one of Chevrolet’s NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers. He’ll give me a "high-five" after completing my lap. Which driver would it be? I would let Queers4Gears' Michael Myers choose – he knows better than I about Sprint Cup drivers.

#TheNewCity: Say what you will about the Chevrolet Spark, but here’s a few twists and turns that would change a few minds. Consider Uptown Minneapolis or St Paul's Grand Avenue for a moment. You see a Spark pull up in front a shop, a blur of a person goes in and comes out with bags of goodies. This is repeated in front of many different storefronts…and a coffeehouse stopover. The twist is that the Spark shows up in front of a homeless shelter or community service center. All of the bags are dropped off as donations. We now see the person – it could be anyone at this point – and there are smiles hugs and tears at the end.

#TheNewCommute: We all heard how housing costs have driven people to the exurbs. Yet, the job centers are still within the metro area. To prove the efficiency of the Chevrolet Sonic – or the Chevrolet Cruze Clean Diesel – the commercial will follow a driver on to work. He/she passes farms, small industrial parks, small towns until the road becomes a multilane highway. As soon as the car reaches the junction, a call comes through on the Bluetooth via MyLink. It is the spouse stating that the driver forgot something. The driver brushes the spouse off and turns onto the loop road – not downtown. The driver arrives at his destination – a huge business park – walks into the office and – surprise – "Happy Birthday!" Not a bad commute after all!

These are just a few ideas, Chevrolet. Keep the commercials coming!

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.