Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Call of Duty: Operation Mayonaise Run

I know I’m a bit late to this party, but I still can’t get over this…
To commemorate the release of the Call of Duty: Black Ops video game, a Chrysler is offering the 2011 Jeep Wrangler - Call of Duty® : Black Ops™ Edition, which vaguely resembles the military Jeep featured in the popular “first-person shooter” game. 
ABOVE: Lara Croft will be TOTALLY impressed
when you go to pick her up for your big date!
Yes, that’s right. A car based on a video game.

Am I the only one who thinks that the video game world and the human world are two twains that should never meet?  What’s next, a Grand Theft Auto® Special Edition Glock™? Lara Croft® Silicon Breast Implants™? World of Warcraft® Chastity Belts™? (Or would that be redundant?)

The tagline of the Jeep is “The only vehicle tough enough to play in this world.”  I seriously hurt my head trying to figure out what this means.
By “this world,” I’m not sure if they mean the video game, or, like, “reality.”  Either way, it makes about as much sense (none). The only car tough enough to play in a video game?? You mean, I can’t drive my actual car into a video game war zone, because it wouldn’t cut the mustard?? Or do they mean it’s the only vehicle tough enough to “play” in reality? Because there are, in fact, many stronger vehicles available for cruising down the mean streets of, say, Shaker Heights, Ohio.
But logic clearly isn’t supposed to come into this. Introducing logic to this scenario is as disturbing as when the actors in A Very Special Episode of 80s sitcoms would break the Fourth Wall, and Nancy Reagan would come out to underscore whatever Very Valuable Lesson we all just learned.  
In the alternate reality of the Jeep ads, the hands-free cell phone feature simulates the experience of talking to Mission Command -- like in the actual game. In real life, this will no doubt help you to complete your “mission” of picking up a flat of mayonnaise at Costco on your way home from work.

According to Brad Jakeman, Chief Marketing Officer, Activision Publishing, Inc., "This is a dynamic and fully integrated partnership that brings together two iconic brands across a full array of consumer touch-points."
Which is fortunate, because someone whose automotive purchases are informed by a video game are probably not gonna be getting many “touch points” anywhere else.

It’s one thing to spend $50 on a video game. And if you really need some merch to re-affirm your identification with a fictional, violent universe – a t-shirt, coffee cup, mousepad – all of these seem like reasonable accoutrements. But to spend $34,000 on an overpriced Jeep just to “complete the experience” ? Seems like taking your soft addiction just a little too far.
I’m curious as to who actually buys these cars? You have to assume that the target audience is a) male, b) single and c) celibate.
When my husband, Paul, saw the commercial for this Jeep, his eyes perked up. “Wow. That looks cool.”
I gave him the universal “it’s never gonna happen” look, familiar to all men who’ve ever been in a relationship for longer than, say, twelve hours.
“I was being ironic, duh?” He retorts.
(He wasn’t.)

On the graphics-heavy website, a glistening black Jeep is parked in the midst of an undisclosed tropical location in what appears to be Southeast Asia (the video game narrative takes place during the Cold War/Vietnam era). In the background, firebombs light up the palm trees. The hum of a military chopper is woven into the boom-boom of the explosions ...

I guess the sounds of soldiers dying and children screaming for their dead parents didn’t make the cut for the “atmospheric background noises” for the ad. Still, Vietnam vets with PTSD should probably avoid the site. Unless they love awesome cars with rad stero systems!!

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