Peter York on Ads: An iconic American monster comes over all cute

Chevrolet
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The Independent Online

My general idea of a Chevrolet is over-sized and over there. It starts with a finned Harley Earl-designed early Sixties monster and ends with the things you see in Seventies films on TV after hours. I know there are subtle hierarchies in the old General Motors' line-up of brands and that Chevrolet was at the bottom of the pile. But from a European perspective they were all very similar. For Chevvy read iconic American monster.

My general idea of a Chevrolet is over-sized and over there. It starts with a finned Harley Earl-designed early Sixties monster and ends with the things you see in Seventies films on TV after hours. I know there are subtle hierarchies in the old General Motors' line-up of brands and that Chevrolet was at the bottom of the pile. But from a European perspective they were all very similar. For Chevvy read iconic American monster.

How strange then to see Chevrolet introduced to us as nippy small cars of no design distinction that run up and down the cobbley streets of Old Europe's cities like so many happy ladybirds. Not only are these Chevrolets small and over here, they're winsome, they're acting cute. No American car was ever winsome.

What are they doing running around what looks like Paris? Why are they in convoy? And what are they doing in a darkened smoky clearing, winking at each other with their headlights?

They've been introducing the brand gradually - there was an ad just featuring the badge a few weeks ago - but you could hardly call it a teaser now. They're pushing the name and logo hard.

The setting's nice enough. There's old stone and black balconies with flowerpots and excited mature women (but I do promise you, these cars don't look remotely exciting, imagine a 1987 small Fiat in washed-out orange, people in Europe see cars like this all day long).

And what are they dong with our Fine Young Cannibals? I really only noticed this ad because of the FYC music-track. My original Cannibals vinyl is worn thin with playing but I still love them and I notice wherever they're played. They're completely wonderful and, of course, very, very now - in a world where Franz Ferdinand and the Scissor Sisters can go mainstream, FYC should be at No 1 again. And they could be. A major campaign - even one as dreary as this - can completely remake a band. I hope Roland Gift gets a hyper-massive pension out of it.

Peter@sru.co.uk

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