When Chrysler hired Portland ad agency Wieden+Kennedy to launch a new campaign for the Dodge Charger
at the Super Bowl, the bailed-out car company was looking to make a statement.
It certainly did. Now the question is whether the statement—"Your lady is a demanding shrew, so get your balls back with a fast car"—will attract customers as well as attention.
The Wieden+Kennedy ad, called "Man's Last Stand," is at the forefront of a raging post-game controversy about whether this year's Super Bowl ads were uncommonly hostile to women. (By "raging post-game controversy" we mean "people who don't want to do real work talking about things they will forget tomorrow," but perhaps that's a given.) Here's the ad:
And here's a sampling of reactions.
...[M]ost bluntly, a Chysler [sic] Dodge Charger ad stares into men's defeated faces as they count off all the ways they've promised to emasculate themselves to please their bosses and wives. "I will be civil to your mother," goes the voice over. "I will put the seat down. I will take my socks off before getting into bed. And because I do this, I will drive the car I want to drive." And the words plastered over the awesome, manly image of a black Dodge zooming down the street: MAN'S. LAST. STAND. In other words: I will be miserable, and because I am miserable, I will drive a Chrysler. No, thank you.
Automaker Dodge's "Man's Last Stand" spot shows bored, oppressed blokes staring vacant-eyed at the camera, as the narrator recites the litany of modern manhood's daily drugeries ("I will shave … I will sit through two-hour meetings"). Surprise: Dodge would have us complain about our girlfriends, and how they make us put the seat down after we pee, put our underpants in the laundry hamper, take our socks off before getting into bed. The escape? A Dodge Charger muscle car ("And because I do this, I will drive the car I want to drive").
Among the chores our girlfriends inflict on us, according to "Man's Last stand": separating the recyling [sic]. Manhood means the freedom to race a 19 mile-per-gallon crate down the highway and toss your beer bottles into the trash, where they damn well belong. Caring about the earth is an unmanly pursuit best left to your harpy arm-candy.
Before last night, I never really understood how horrible and unfair it must be to be a man. Having a job. Dressing oneself and taking out the recycling. Practicing basic human hygiene. A devastating existence made more trying by the presence of a demanding, overbearing woman. You might even have to carry her lip balm. The horror. Luckily for all the desperate men out there, Chrysler, Dove, and FLOTV produced spots on how to buy back your manhood. Buy a car. Buy some soap. Get a miniature TV. Never have to put down the toilet seat ever again.
Closer to home, Portland Mercury
food editor Patrick Alan Coleman has Tweeted his discontent
This Charger commercial pisses me off. ... I mean, boo-hoo, you go to work, you put the toilet seat down, cry me a friggin river. She gave birth. She should get the car SHE wants. ... Nut-up and get in the Mini-van, you d-bag.
At WW, a land of knuckle-dragging cavemen eating rotten meat in the parking lot, the consensus was that the ad was actually pretty amusing, though it did nothing to convince anybody that a Dodge Charger is man's last anything, or even the car you would buy if you wanted to make some kind of principled stand that assures you never have sex again.