Virtual Speeding Ticket?

I just saw a new car commercial that made me both excited and mad. Excited because it showed a uniquely innovative idea, and mad because it helped perpetuate a creative reality of car advertising that has driven me nuts forever.

The ad I’m talking about is the one for the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, promoting the “Mitsubishi Live Drive” internet-based virtual test drive. You can sign up right on their site to “take the wheel” of the car’s controls from your computer. Brilliant! Sounds cool. And I’m sure it will be done in a wide open space with nothing in the way. It will probably feel like a reality-based video game to many.But here’s the issue. How many people will probably try to hit top speed, fly it around turns, and break it as hard as you can? And why not? Isn’t that what just about EVERY car commercial shows us how to do? Think about it – especially all of you who drive umpteen miles to work every day (as I am lucky enough to do as well). Is that how real people really drive?

Look at that car whizzing along, making out-of-control moves, near the speed of sound. Do the car companies really think people read the small print  – “Professional drivers on closed course. Do not attempt this.” Do other industries ads show irresponsible use of their products with mouse type legalese to placate the lawyers? Sure, it makes the cars look oh so sexy, but can’t that be done creatively without showing out-of-control driving maneuvers?

In reality, seeing a constant barrage of these commercials I’m sure at least leaves a  mark on the some people’s brain. Drive fast! Zip in and out of traffic! What fun! What a car!  And how awesome am I for driving it!

I’m sure automotive ad agencies can use their creativity a little more responsively and still show how much fun their clients’ cars can be. And real people will be better off for it at the end of the day.

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