Is hate entering mainstream advertising?

If there’s one thing those of you who are left or right of center (or stuck in the middle with me,) can agree upon, it’s this:  The one unifying thread Americans seem to share nowadays is hate.

Like you, I’ve unfriended countless, longtime BFFs on social channels, have seen a rift occur in my own family and, frankly, have tried to avoid talking politics at all costs.

But, having just viewed this new TV spot from Lexus, I wonder if marketers are picking up on the undercurrent of hate and subliminally adding it to their pitch?

Check it out (below) and pay close attention to the driver’s reaction AFTER he swerves to avoid hitting a businessman carrying a stack of papers. The car’s sensors prevented the driver from hitting the pedestrian, but the latter is left behind to pick-up all of the paperwork the car’s velocity scattered.

Meanwhile, the Lexus driver plows ahead with a definite smirk on his face that one could read as:

– I’m so happy my Lexus sensors prevented me from hitting that dope, or

– Stupid bastard. Serves him right that he’s left to try and scoop up his valuable paperwork.

Wouldn’t the average driver stop, pull over and help the guy collect his belongings? I certainly would. But, not this particular Lexus driver, who’s probably thinking, “F the pedestrian’s problems. I avoided an accident and have people to see, places to go and things to do.”

So, what’s your take? Did you react the way I did? And, based upon the ever escalating vitriol in our country, will other marketers find ways to subtly insert hate in their messaging? I have to believe half of the viewers shouted, “Right on!” when the driver smiled and plowed ahead while the other half felt terrible for the businessman.

Comments welcomed from fans of O’Reilly, Maddow and everyone else in-between.

And  a tip of RepMan’s racing helmet to Ann Barlow for suggesting this post.

12 thoughts on “Is hate entering mainstream advertising?

  1. I agree with the conversation here that somehow the message has become, “You’re on your own, buddy.” And that it’s okay to be smug when the other guy has problems coz, hey, they’re not my problems. Such a departure even from what our founding fathers advocated for.

  2. The Wagner Brakes spot certainly doesn’t depict the most caring and. compasdionate mom in the world, Frank. Maybe she’d just avoided being sideswiped by the guy driving the Toyota in the other commercial? Or, maybe she’s heavily sedated? Either way, there’s absolutely no emotion in her voice, her facial expression or voice when she dies a cursory check-in of the back seat occupants (i.e. her kids).

  3. I’m both arrogant and entitled, so I consider myself part of the target audience. Put that in your self-entitlement pipe and smoke it.

  4. We are not their target audience. We are not supposed to identify with the drier. This is for arrogant, entitled Millennials with money.

  5. Christ would have never picked you as one of his original apostles, Dandy. And agree with you, Matt. The arrogance reflects Lexus’ senior leadership’s POV on the world.

  6. The ad is ridiculous; the office worker is a moron and the driver’s expression proves he is a typical entitled Millennial. But, the guy dropped the papers before the car passed him; the driver did not cause him to drop the papers. If I’d been driving, I wouldn’t have had that shitty expression oin my face, but I also wouldn’t have stopped to help. If you drop papers in a street, you can bet they’re gonna scatter.

  7. Without at least some good Karma in their purpose, how can a brand expect to be liked at all?

  8. The way I see it, that smirk, that callousness, the lack of humanity, compassion, empathy, grace and manners didn’t come from the smarmy actor behind the wheel – as far as I’m concerned, it came directly from the C Suite at Lexus headquarters and they should be deeply, deeply ashamed. And their agency, Team One, should be just as ashamed as the CMO.

    • Or maybe he’ll screw up at his next biz presentation … something like that. It’s a bizarre ad to say the least.

  9. This ad is so confusing. The Lexus dude comes off as a pompous asshole. Why would anyone want to emulate him? But, this comes from someone who is SUPER tuned into karma and understanding that you get back what you put out into the universe.