In the grand scheme of automotive things, Sarah Palin really plays a tiny, microscopic role. Which is probably a good thing, because if she had a bigger role and influence, every car would have a gun rack. However, Mrs. Palin’s creative use (or abuse) of the English language recently, in a manner that would make George Bush Jr. blush with proudness (or is that pride?) was quite creative. She came up with a really creative word--“refudiate”--and she either repudiated it or she refused to admit that it was a mistake or that she has the education of a fifth grader. And then she indirectly compared herself to Shakespeare (I could write a tome about that one) who liked to coin new words too. My goodness.
And all this got me thinking oddly about the creative use of language automobile makers (and their attendant ad agencies) have come up in the past, and how many of these slogans, both ancient and recent, really sucked. Slogans that were either utterly forgettable or ones that made you laugh with guffaws followed by a heaping smirk of derision for insulting you, the consumer, with words that mean nothing.
So after some researching and debating with my best friend, a fellow car nut, here are five of the worst car slogans we could think of:
Pontiac: We Build Excitement--They say you shouldn’t make fun of the dead. But how can you not make fin of Pontiac and the “We Build Excitement” slogan, when the best they could do was a rolling oil leak known as the Trans Am, and the worst they could was the Fiero, an utter piece of automotive garbage that signalled the height (or nadir) of GM’s arrogance and dedication to building plastic-clad, four-wheeled boredom wagons. The only excitement they built was wondering if your car would get home without an oil seal bursting. Watch this ad and laugh with derision at the dead Pontiac.
Ford: At Ford, Quality Is Job 1--This one goes back quite a while too, back to the days when GM, Ford and Chrysler were starting to get pounded by the Japanese who had learned to build cars that not only didn’t break, but also weren’t assembled by an angry union member who had just gotten over a hangover. Ford’s slogan was there to remind us that quality is job 1! Wait a minute, shouldn’t that have been implicit? Why do you have to remind the consumer that quality has to be placed as job 1? Did it fall down the rank to job 16, behind screwing the union members, and fattening profit margins? Remember the bad old days when Ford actually designed the fuel pump on the Topaz to give out at 100,000 miles? Good thing this ad is in the past and that Ford has good products and a nice future. The ad, however is a riot. Man, the early '80s were funny.
Nissan Maxima: Four-Door Sports Car--Oh, please. I know it’s not a sports car. Even if it has one, two or four doors. It’s a really sporty sedan, yes. It is fun to drive, and my best friend has the most current one in a wonderful shade of blue, with a kick-butt 290 horsepower engine and is really nice to drive. But a sports car it ain’t. Sports cars have MANUAL transmissions (as least as an option). They are light and are meant to be driven hard. Sports cars that have four doors are few, like a Porsche Panamera, or an Aston Martin Rapide. And even those are meant more as high-powered luxocrusiers that can handle well. But a four-door sports car? Don’t insult me. But I do have to say, this ad from the '90s is great. It gave me a good smile and I fondly remembered it from my long distant youth.