Commentary

Truth In Advertising

In an enterprising story earlier this week, Brandweek's Steve Miller reported that "General Motors dealers are mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore."

Wondering if perhaps corporate was pushing another 180 days of unsellable inventory onto their lots, I read on to find instead that local dealers are producing their own ads aggressively aimed at trying to discredit the new 800-pound gorilla of the auto biz: Toyota.

For example, a 60-second radio spot from an Atlanta dealer says, "Toyota recalled more vehicles last year than it sold. The reality is [it] contributes more to our staggering national trade deficit than any other manufacturer, and those American-built Toyotas are mostly American assembled from imported parts. Folks, the reality is Chevrolet is better for you, your pocketbook and America."

Yet another indication of how far out of touch with reality some GM dealers are, since Toyota was recently featured in Fortune as one of the top-ten most admired companies in the U.S. A cover blurb called it "Now America's best automaker."

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Nevertheless, I guess the gloves are off now. It is only a matter of time before some enlightened backwater Hummer dealer starts referring to Toyota execs as "Harbor Bombers." Already in Indianapolis, several utility and traffic light boxes have been tagged with "Don't Buy Jap Crap."

Let's not stop there, my friends (I would have called you Kemo Sabe, but it probably means something like "white guy who incessantly and needlessly risks brown man's life" in Potawatomi). With a few keystrokes in a search box, you'll have enough to script your own ads attacking your competition at their weakest, most indefensible points. Not sure if your claims are accurate? Who cares? Put the other guy on the defensive. While he's explaining that in fact the charges were later dropped and he was never convicted, your cash register will be ringing like Ann Coulter's ears at a Green Party bra burning.Let the imagination begin:

"Thinking about a BMW? Let's not forget who started World War II and who came up with The Final Solution. Their grandsons are the ones building those cars. Meanwhile, who was supplying the good guys with Jeeps and tanks? Huh? Who?"

"Sure you can ski in Park City, but then you'd be surrounded by descendants of Mormons who dressed up like Indians and slaughtered between 100 and 140 men, women and children from Arkansas passing through Utah en route to California. Here in Vermont we only have 12 Mormons..."

"Dear Black Student Athlete: We noted with interest that you have signed an athletic grant in aid with the University of Alabama. If you recall your history, in 1956 Autherine J. Lucy became the first black student to attend the University of Alabama but was expelled three days later 'for her own safety' in response to threats from a mob. It took her until 1992 to eventually graduate. Here at Ohio State, you'll graduate in, at the max, six years (provided of course you don't become a freshman All American and start living the outlaw life)..."

"No doubt the Yellow Peril makes a great notebook, but ask your drunken old uncle Jimmy how he felt when 70,000 great grandpappies of Lenovo-makers came blasting their way down the Chosin Reservoir. Too far gone to get an answer? Try asking one of your local shell-shocked, fatigue-wearing, Hendrix-humming Vietnam vets how he felt about China sending AK 47s down the Ho Chi Minh trail..."

"You could cheap out and get 10W40 instead of synthetic for your next oil change, but just remember that nearly every one of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, our nation's second top oil supplier. Our Mobil 1, on the other hand, is made from All American polyolefin..."

"I'm sure God blesses the Episcopal Church, but if Katharine Jefferts Schori has her way, you might want to check out the Roman Catholic Church, where we offer primacy of the pope, clerical celibacy, the seven sacraments, apostolic succession and papal infallibility (no matter how bad these ideas were 1,800 years ago.)."



The story you have just read is an attempt to blend fact and fiction in a manner that provokes thought, and on a good day, merriment. It would be ill-advised to take any of it literally. Take it, rather, with the same humor with which it is intended. Cut and paste or link to it at your own peril.
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