I have racked my brains, but can not recall where, and from whom I acquired my 1950 Dodge Coronet from, that I named ‘General Eisenhower’. I saw President Ike ‘Nazi Killer’ behind the wheel waving to me.
“Keep up the good work!”
Of all the cars I owned, this is my favorite, for with Rena in the passenger seat, this was the Acme of affordable motoring experience in America. The word “affordable” is used quite a lot in car ads and commercials. These words go together like – horse and carriage. I had already fallen in love with Rena after our amazing kiss on my friends studio apartment floor where he had thrown blankets down for us after our drive up from L.A. Now, I am stuck with her…….The Most Unaffordable Woman in the World! Why me?
I have no money. I am homeless! I was getting around $700 dollars from the government and state after my fall on the beautiful rocks at McClure’s Beach. I told Rena this, and she didn’t care, as far as I could tell. She never called me a “parasite” like my daughter, because we were funded. Our camping trip was sponsored by the Feds! I filled the Goodwill cooler with ice and threw in bacon and eggs. I was going to make my Beautiful Captive, a continental breakfast when she woke up at camp Laurel Dell.
“Here my dear. Compliments of our President, Richard Nixon! Eat hardy my lass. I want you to grow even stronger – and more beautiful – if that is possible!”
Rena was always smiling when she emerged from the tent after smelling the bacon.
Many Affordable Car commercials were filmed on top of Mount Tam. Here is where I parked Ike, and became her pack-horse. We only stayed three nights, because, she wanted to go swimming, and did not like the place I took her to. When we went to Rio Nido Beach, the gathering at Bohemian Grove was just getting underway. This is how I figured how long we camped, before it was time for her to go back to Nebraska to get ready to go to college. We went East in General Eisenhower in September. I figured if I could not keep her, I would send her back to her grandmother’s house – well fed!
“I want to thank you for taking good care of my granddaughter. She looks so tan, so healthy, and so beautiful. What did you do to her?
“Aw, shucks! You don’t got to thank me, Mrs. Christiansen. Thank the Federal Food Stamp Program. I assume you are a Democrat and against the war in Vietnam?”
Every July, some of the richest and most powerful men in the world gather at a 2,700 acre campground in Monte Rio, Calif., for two weeks of heavy drinking, super-secret talks, druid worship (the group insists they are simply “revering the Redwoods”), and other rituals.
Their purpose: to escape the “frontier culture,” or uncivilized interests, of common men.
The people that gather at Bohemian Grove — who have included prominent business leaders, former U.S. presidents, musicians, and oil barons — are told that “Weaving Spiders Come Not Here,” meaning business deals are to be left outside. One exception was in 1942, when a planning for the Manhattan Project took place at the grove, leading to the creation of the atom bomb.
A spokesperson for Bohemian Grove say the people that gather there “share a passion for the outdoors, music, and theater.”
CAR commercials by their nature always try to shout: New! New! New! But the winding roads or cityscapes the sleek new cars are zipping through are more like a ride down Memory Lane.
Many of the spots used to promote youth on four wheels or a new grip on asphalt are filmed at familiar locations, like Mount Tamalpais outside San Francisco, the white-tiled Second Street Tunnel in Los Angeles and Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean.
“We’ve used a lot of the same locations that other car companies have historically used,” said Jonathan Cude, a group creative director on the account of Audi of America at McKinney & Silver in Raleigh, N.C. “There’s just some places that get used over and over again.”
Part of the reason is practical: many production companies are in Southern or central California.
“The closer you can stay to Los Angeles, the better,” said David Moore, the chief creative officer at the Troy, Mich., office of McCann Erickson Worldwide, which creates advertising for the Buick Motor division of General Motors.
Much of the thinking, however, is related to weather. Sometimes, serendipity pays off; one agency executive who shot a commercial in Florida soon after Hurricane Ivan swept through said the storm left “amazingly dramatic skies” in its wake, which reflected well on the car hood.
More often, producers and directors of car commercials go out of their way to avoid “weather days,” when rain or snow prevents shooting and wastes time and money for the client. But there are other attractions.
Mount Tamalpais, or Mount Tam, in Northern California has provided the seductive twists and turns for Madison Avenue paeans to car brands like Porsche, Honda, Nissan and countless others. The Audi team at McKinney & Silver just got back from scouting it.
“The landscape is simple, the roads are black, so from an art director’s standpoint, it’s really easy to work,” said Bill Morden, the co-chief creative officer at the Troy, Mich., office of BBDO Worldwide, which creates commercials for DaimlerChrysler.
“People in the know go, oh, Mount Tam,” said Gary Paticoff, executive producer at Rubin Postaer & Associates in Santa Monica, Calif., the agency that creates ads for American Honda Motor. “It’s been shot in car ads for over 20 years.”
Thomas Cordner Jr., the worldwide creative director on the Ford account at J. Walter Thompson, described the appeal: “It’s got one of those brilliant pieces of roads.”
The mountain is also generic in a good way, meaning that it can play a role in a variety of car ads without overshadowing the star. No matter how much agencies insist that the location is never the whole story, the prevalence of Mount Tam backdrops has led some producers to take a break.
“It’s been about two years,” said Carol Gall, director for broadcast and executive producer at the Detroit office of J. Walter Thompson, which makes Ford commercials.