american nothing

Advertising as a picture of social opinion. Pretty scary that in South Africa, this is an indication of America's popularity. Or of the popularity of American manufacturing. You decide. It will be interesting to see Smart's campaign when these cars are introduced in the US, sometime in 2007.

6/2/06 We just received this letter from Smart in response to this post:

Dear Darryl
The article posted your website refers.

In order to place the communication message in the context we intended, we wish to advise that the intention of the communication headline of the billboard was never to reflect negatively on the American society, but rather to refer to the vehicle’s features and product characteristics. Whereas most American vehicles are famous for e.g. being large in size, the reference to “American nothing” relates to vehicle manufacturing and most certainly not to the American society. This message is clear, considering that “German engineering” and “Swiss innovation” also refers to vehicle manufacturing with no reference intended to the societies of either these countries.

In developing the smart brand and its products, DaimlerChrysler aims to satisfy the needs and requirements of young-hearted and Euro-centric individuals. Similarly, other products within the DaimlerChrysler Group of Companies are aimed at different target segments of the market. Different brands therefore reflect its own characteristics and intend to establish a particular brand image that the consumer can relate and aspire to.

Although we appreciate the fact that all advertisements are open for interpretation by various individuals depending on their own personal opinions, we wish to state that none of the advertisements by DaimlerChrysler in promoting its brands are aimed to be discriminating or offending against any individual, belief, religion, colour, nationality, country or otherwise.

Having regard to the above, and without it being construed as an admission of guilt on the part of DaimlerChrysler South Africa in placing the billboard, it has been resolved to remove the billboard to avoid any further misconception and wrong perception as to the true intent of DaimlerChrysler South Africa in the promotion of the smart brand. We wish to apologise for any offence taken as a result of the misperception created by the billboard.

We trust you find the above in order.

Yours faithfully
DaimlerChrysler South Africa (Pty) Limited

Liesel Eales
Manager: smart

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