Hummer: The Compensation Car

Amusing story of a quickly revised Hummer ad, courtesy of David Card:

It seems that a small, but vocal contingent of TV viewers found a recent ad for the Hummer H3 to be offensive enough to make some phone calls and in turn, cause some tweaking.

The ad in question, for those of you who didn’t see the spot, depicts two gentlemen crossing each other’s paths at the grocery store. One arrives at the checkout stand with tofu and the other arrives with large piles of dead animal flesh. After grimacing at his lack of intestinal dominance, our tofu-consuming protagonist leaves the grocery store and drops his hard-earned cash on an H3. The tagline displayed after our hero is wolfing down a burger behind the wheel proclaims, “restore your manhood.” That final line is what seemed to get Modernista’s minions into trouble.

To rectify the situation, GM has changed the final line to read, “restore the balance.” What that means is open to debate and, well, that’s why there’s a comment section.

I hate those ads. The other ad shows a woman and her kid getting bullied out of a line for a slide. Makes me want to throw things at the TV. Hummer’s already had a bad rep with me for their gas guzzlingness, but these ads make me want to go slash some tires.

Hummer should do an ad where a beautiful woman with red lipstick stares into the camera and says “Every man deserves a Hummer.” You wouldn’t even need to show the car. Genius!

But those ads aren’t meant for you. And slashing tires is a terrible thing to do. You might want to consider removing the windshield wiper blades and wedging a sharp rock in their place.

Those ads describe everything I hate about Hummers as a civilian car.

Every time I see someone get out of one in a parking lot, I want to go over and punch him right in the face. But I don’t.

Am I too violent?

Is anyone else cracking up at the not-so-subtle irony in these ads? I mean, legions of anti-Hummer people have been making the “they’re just compensating” crack for years. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ad agency, following some profiling focus groups, found this to be true and chose to appeal to these people’s senses of inadequacy. Still, I do have to wonder if those ads are going to make even the target demographic want a Hummer. It has to cross their minds, “Hey… are they making fun of me?”

Anyway, the ads are also appropriate because they’re an extension of the false pretense on which Hummers exist. It uses meat-eating, nonexistent sign/definition of manliness (which is concept that itself is increasingly archaic), to sell a car that gives you a false sense of security, power, and control. You know what I call that? Art.

No, but keep up the good work on that impulse control, Mr. Punchy.

I haven’t driven a Hummer, but most big SUVs give you an ACTUAL sense of security, power, and control. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t sell.

Yes, they absolutely give you that feeling, but I repeat that it’s a false sense. By that I mean the feeling is there, but it’s pretty much all in your head.

Security? I don’t have a source handy, but it’s now common knowledge that SUV’s - particularly Hummers - flip very easily. Also, from what I’ve read, statistically people in Hummers drive more recklessly because of this subconscious feeling (similar to higher crash rates in sports-red cars).

Power? They’re heavy, they have powerful engines, so you certainly feel powerful. But all this feeling does is, again, make you more reckless, and then when you crash you have that nice flipping over to accomplish. So there’s ‘literal’ power, but I wouldn’t say it gives you any more power over the road. Control pretty much falls under these two as well.

I think most military Humvees roll over because of the explosive devices that go off next to them.

Wear seatbelts.

I’m… going to assume you’re joking.

You joke, sir!

I don’t think flipping over is one of the many knocks against the Hummer. Isn’t one of its hallmarks the ridiculously wide wheelbase?

Speaking as someone who almost has flipped his Honda Civic, aren’t the Hummers just easier to flip? The flip risk isn’t at such a low speed level as to prompt a recall, right?

I missed him eating the burger in the commercial. I had always felt the message is that if you’re a vegetarian then you have the moral standing to drive one of those artless monstrous death machines.

It’s the care for True Neutral Vegetarians!

Actually, Hummers don’t really flip. Their biggest problem is the steering knuckle, which breaks with almost no pressure. This causes the wheel(s) to fall off.

This is a video of what a broken steering knuckle looks like when it happens, although luckily, the person stopped driving before the wheel popped off. It also shows how terrible they are for offroading.

Jeeps have a history of rolling over, Hummers don’t. As already mentioned, the wheel base is so wide you’d have to really, really try to flip one, assuming you weren’t driving on surfaces with extreme grades.

In any case, Hummers and other huge SUVs have always been horrible cars for people to use to drive around town in, and yes, the new Hummer ads are horrible on so many levels.

Slate’s take

You’re talking about driver behavior, I’m talking about characteristics of the vehicles before anyone ever gets in the driver’s seat. Driving like a dumbass will always result in a higher probability of something bad happening. However, given a choice between a Suburban and a Scion, I know which one I’d rather have an accident in, tow a trailer with, or try to get away from a sticky situation in.

Having nearly been run off the road by a Hummer just this morning as I was minding my own business in my little Honda, I’d say your problem is that you’re not violent enough.