Most men like to say “Mine’s bigger” or “Mine’s more powerful” or “Mine has more than yours, so I am better than you.” I am sure you can think of dozens of other macho kind of things that I can’t say anymore because I am a minivan-driving suburbanite who has a hairline that’s receded, a belly that’s grown and kids who have robbed me of sleep and any hope I had at crawling out of debt before I am dead. The guy thing has always been to say mine is cooler/better/faster than your's and thusly, that guy has a higher social standing in the chimp picking order and will probably mate and get the cheerleader. And this has especially been true in the world of cars and trucks, even more so in the advertising world of cars and trucks.
The automotive world has been built on men who believed more is better. I can count how many examples of fuel-swilling, tire-smoking excess there have been and how that has sold cars from North America to Nippon. Chevy’s V-8 engines, Porsche’s twin-turbo 911s, and even a quad-turbo from Bugatti. How many hundreds of horsepower and thousands of pound-feet of torque has been splashed across car ads in the name of saying “my dingaling is bigger than yours” to impress us guys?
Fiat 500 Abarth
Fiat 500 AbarthEnlarge Photo
Fuel Sippers versus V-8s
But now comes the green car revolution and bragging rights are changing--and may change forever, with the dinosaurs heading for the automotive La Brea tar pits. From various websites, I read the other day that Chrysler will de-emphasize the Hemi name as a marketing feature, a veritable legend engine in the horsepower wars. How many times did the commercial “that thing got a Hemi” run in North America--when fuel was cheap and men were still men. And it was a hit!
But now it’s all about less and being green. The Hemi seems to be a detractor for Chrysler. My how times have changed. And now that Fiat owns Chrysler, a manufacturer that wouldn’t know a V-8 if it were dropped on Sergio Marcchione’s head--and it’s brought out a two-cylinder engine. In terms of displacement and power, not even a quarter of a Hemi! And it’s tremendously sophisticated too. Wonder if that will make it into Chrysler’s lineup one day.
More than anything, in the age of the hybrid, the two-cylinder engine and downsizing engines, how does a company sell a macho image with less? When does a guy like to say “Mine emits less pollution”--and we are not talking farts, we’re talking engines. How does a guy say with a straight face when comparing rides at the car show “mine is cleaner and smaller than yours”?
This will be one for the marketing department and a couple hundred psychologists to figure out.
Dodge Hemi Ad
Toyota Prius Harmony Ad