Whilst filling my car up with petrol today, I noticed a little Land Rover advert on the pump which carried the following slogan:
Why get a car when you can get a Land Rover?
Before my tank was full of petrol I had already mentally compiled the following list:
1. I already have a car, presumably like everyone reading this advert – so that particular train has left the station.
2. Were I in need of a car and simply hanging around petrol pumps for the vicarious pleasure of seeing other people fill up theirs, I would still consider a car rather more within my budget. I don’t know much about Land Rovers but I think they’re pretty pricey.
3. I live in an urban area in the South of England; most of the journeys I make are along flat, well-maintained roads of insignificant gradient. A car does the job pretty well, I find.
4. I tend to drive on my own a lot, so to get a Land Rover would be pretty selfish both from a hogging-the-road and an environmental perspective.
5. A car is easier to park.
6. A car is easier to wash.
7. I’m not a ‘car person’, but were I to fetishise cars I don’t think I’d find a Land Rover particularly attractive. Why get a Land Rover when you can get a Bentley?
8. Maybe through sheer unreasoned prejudice, or maybe for all of the above reasons, I tend to regard people in my situation who drive Land Rovers as dickheads. I don’t want to be one of them.
Then, as I drove away from the petrol station, the following thought occurred to me: why on earth should I be justifying my decision to buy a car in the first place?
Indeed, isn’t it down to the folk at Land Rover to tell me why I should get a Land Rover when I can get a car?
And indeed, isn’t that rather the whole point of advertising?
Evidently, driving cumbersome cars and thoroughly thinking through your advertising campaign before spending lots of money on it don’t go hand in hand; and since I doubt very much that the folk at Land Rover who paid for it live on farms, at least one of my prejudices would appear to contain a nugget of truth…