Monday, February 04, 2013

Chrysler's Military Profiteering.

As anyone who knows me knows, I am a huge fan of the Baltimore Ravens. Have been since they moved to Baltimore in 1996. I remember vividly the first Super Bowl we won, in 2001. And I will remember the one we won last night. Another great night for my native city, where I had the good fortune to watch the game with family.

As anyone who knows me can also attest, I am not one for commercials, don't watch much TV besides. I don't get as geared up for the Super Bowl commercials as some others might, and certainly not in a year when my team is playing in the game. I need the commercial breaks to settle myself down emotionally.

But one advertisement, from a car company, caught my eye. It was from Jeep, a company owned by Chrysler. As you may know, Jeeps were originally created for military use in World War II, but it is important to note that Chrysler has never made a Jeep for military use, and only bought the Jeep name in 1987. For some time now, the Jeep has been strictly a civilian automobile, limited mostly to steep driveways and puddle-strewn back roads, with no use in the modern American armed forces.

It is nothing new to use emotion, and good old fashioned national pride, to sell everything from baseball gloves to pickup trucks. I understand this as a fundamental tenant of advertising. But I found Chrysler's "America Will Be Whole Again" advertisement for Jeep to be supremely objectionable, crossing an ethical line that blurred Chrysler's commercial interests with the very real sacrifice made by those who serve in the American military. Selling Jeeps requires no sacrifice, we should not allow Chrysler to co-opt the real sacrifice made by fighting men and women.

Taking advantage of this country's pride in our men and women in uniform, to wantonly commercialize the emotion of waiting for a loved one to come home, to wantonly commercialize the sacrifice made by millions of veterans and active duty soilders and their families, all in what I hope is a vain attempt to sell more cars, is proof of the further erosion of corporate common sense in this nation. This is the modern day equivalent of war profiteering.

The thought that some marketing pinhead thought it would be okay to imply that somehow we, as Americans, could better honor the troops by buying a Jeep, and that some (and likely several) bigwigs at Chrysler gave this project the green light, should be enough to turn every single veteran, past and future, against the Chrysler Corporation.

If our military is indeed something to be cherished, to be honored, as Chrysler/Jeep and Oprah implied for two minutes of million dollar airtime, then it begs the question, why was a car company, who not five years ago received the generous support of the American public, allowed to sully that institution with base commercialism?  

You can see the commercial here

No comments: