It was all a dream

There are certain car commercials that just…stick with you. As an older millennial where TV was a once-a-week sort of thing, my mind was soaking in anything and everything being flashed on our Sony Trinitron, commercials included. One of those ads that I distinctly remember was this Chevrolet Malibu Maxx commercial complete with Matrix-style action, martial arts (to some extent,) a budget higher than most commercials and a story line that made this, just kind-of interesting quasi-wagon sort of cool.

Here it is below. mirror

The selling point of the Malibu Maxx was its versatility, inside and out. With a six-inch longer wheelbase and no trunk, this Malibu sedan-turned-wagon meant lounge seating out back( 41 inches of legroom,) and SUV levels of cargo space all without punching up to a van, crossover, or full-size station wagon.

In the ad spot, we see our protagonist use these features to his advantage. By using the standard extendable steering wheel and the front seat’s recliner’s ability to fold flat, he’s able to duck and dodge his attacker’s thrusts from their combo umbrella/swords.

Jumping into the rear seats, he slides fore and aft a couple of inches, avoiding getting stabbed. He slams the head of one of his attackers using the middle folding partition. Adding insult to injury, the man with a squished head is taunted by our protagonist through the optional rear-seat entertainment system.

Finally, in a bullet-dodging sequence that would make the Wachowski sisters take notice, our hero backflips over the Maxx, dodging lollipops.This sequence, I guess, is supposed to highlight the fixed rear glass skylight.

In the end, it was all a dream and our hero is really just a good looking Dad with a cute kid and attractive wife who rides in the back with her kid.

Entertainment aside, the interesting part about this ad was who they aimed it at, clearly an Asian-American audience. According to this lower resolution YouTube video’s description, this

“award winning spot was later adopted by the general market with English copy and voice over, this ad running during Emmy night.”

Another commenter further clarifies,

“American Revolution was used in the marketing communications in the U.S. only. The above TV spot was for Chinese Americans. It was not used in Asia.”

According to Chevrolet’s customer profile of the Maxx,

For the practical family, Malibu Maxx is the dependable 5-door midsize car that provides exceptional versatility and functionality to successfully meet everyday challenges. Malibu Maxx target customers are aged 35-50 with a 60/40 male/female split, 50% are college graduates and white collar.

If we’re to take its original Mandarin script as for a Chinese-American audience, it was advertising dollars spent specifically to persuade an Asian American family demo away from the obvious sedan choices (Camry and Accord.)

But, having distinctly remembering this ad in English, Chevrolet leveraged this ad’s entertainment-value and showed it nationwide.

I’d like to see the analysis after this ad run if local dealerships saw an up-tick in Asian American customers looking for the Maxx.

It was one of those cinematic ads that, in my opinion, really stood the test of time and deserved a couple of words.

Do you remember this commercial? Let me know in the comments below!


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