Ads For Cars Are Like Ads For Cigarettes

Remember The Marlboro Man?

With 40,000 deaths by car last year in the US, “…it may be time to treat automobile companies like cigarette manufactures if they’re going to encourage this kind of reckless aggression.”

This BMW ad in Canada is no different from the multitude of ads in the US depicting cars as aggressive, powerful “beasts” on empty city streets, or zooming on winding, precipitous mountain roads. Ads show vehicles with dark, tinted windows, offering glimpses of a perfectly attired man or woman cocooned in the sound and climate-controlled, luxurious interior. Trucks and SUVs are most often shown off-road, with rugged, sporty owners off loading camping gear or surfboards, living the life.  Ads work – they’re aspirational, especially ads for luxury, life-style items, and automobile manufacturers are profiting on knowing that they can continue brainwashing the public as they have been doing since the 1920s. Can we stop the killing by working to break car culture the way we have been trying to break smoking culture (it won’t be easy…now it’s vaping)?

What would an honest car advertisement look like?

“Often violent films and video games are accused of influencing behaviour, but those are fictional portrayals. Advertising is different: it’s aspirational, showing us a lifestyle we should, ostensibly, be striving for with the help of whatever product is being sold…What this ad and others like it are suggesting is that driver aggression is normal and should even be encouraged. In Toronto and other cities we’re familiar with the unleashed beast though, and it’s a killer.”

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/11/02/what-would-an-honest-car-advertisement-look-like.html

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