By Michael Stodola Special to Published Nov 30, 2006 at 11:44 AM
OK. In my recent television watching from the comfort of my sittin’ chair, I noticed a similar theme running through American truck commercials. Nostalgia. Ahhh, nostalgia. It seems to be a tried and true (and bit trite) theme with Fordrolet. And it plays well with most of us here in Brew Town.

In the Ford version, a guy buys and fixes up an old Ford pick up and trailers it over to his old man’s house. His dad says, “That looks like my old truck.” And the son says (here come the water works), “It’s your new truck.” And then I think they make out. I forget. 

Chevy’s version features Johnny Cougar moaning about ‘Merica in a modern, Woody-Guthrie-wannabe kinda way.  There are sweeping shots of old Chevy trucks featured in charming “dioramas,” ending on the new, totally awesome Chevy Awesomenator 4000.

What does this all mean? Well, I’m the owner of a 1954 Chevy pick-up, so at first, I was thrilled to see the old girl representin.’ I then found out that I could call Chevrolet and get a “restoration pack” for my old truck -- free!  Hot damn, I thought, that’s pretty cool, too. I received one and it’s jammed-packed with info and original specs of my truck. Two words: Yee haw! Obviously, it’s in Chevy’s best interest to keep their product rolling, especially with the nostalgic thing going.

And then it hit me.

I’m a frickin’ marketing tool. Chevrolet actually WANTS me out there, strutting its vintage product down Brady Street or KK. Suddenly, my inner-rebel hit the bricks. My flat-black coolness didn’t seem so flat, so black or so cool anymore. In other words, I felt like I was wearing a brightly colored polo with a large “TOMMY” embroidered across my chest. Ugh. I’m part of a large machine, rolling over non-conformity.

And then I thought, wait, it’s just an ad. An ad based on culture, our shared Midwestern experience. And it’s that very culture that led to my emotional decision to purchase it in the first place. I realized that Chevorlet’s got a pretty solid strategy. Not breakthrough creative by any means, but it’s emotional, simple and it speaks directly to my relative truth. Bravo. So, am I Chevy’s pitchman? If they want me to cruise Bluemound, so be it. I’m going to be out there anyway -- on my terms. And if the spot endears my old truck to even more M’waukeeans, well, then, maybe that’ll make it even flatter and blacker than ever. Cool.
Michael Stodola Special to
Michael Stodola is the Creative Director at Boelter + Lincoln – a Milwaukee advertising agency. He loves his job, but not as much as he loves scuba diving, crab cakes or playing with his kids. His favorite thing is sneaking off for dates with his hottie wife. Born and raised in Nebraska, he’s been calling Milwaukee home for well over 10 years. After Michael’s impending death, he’d like to return to this world as your next American Idol®.