Are You a Speed Freak?

by RUSSELL MOKHIBER And ROBERT WEISSMAN

Are you a speed freak?

That’s what Daimler Chrysler
wants to know.

Everything about their current
campaign pushing the new Dodge Charger is about speed and power.

We learned about this campaign
last week. We picked up USA Today, and out dropped a glossy 23-inch-by-21-inch
color poster.

On one side is a picture of
the Charger SRT8. 425 horsepower. 6.1 Liter SRT Hemi V8 engine.
420 lb-ft of torque. 0 to 60 mph in the low 5 seconds. (The low
5 seconds?)

"Grab Life by the Horns,"
it said at the top.

Then in bigger letters at the
bottom: "Get Your Adrenaline Out of Neutral."

Flip over the glossy ad, and
there is a picture of Charger R/T in red.

And the question, emblazoned
in red: "Are you a speed freak?

The ad encourages you to go
to .

So, we went there.

And clicked on "power
freak." There is an animation of a Charger R/T ripping through
some road barriers and fencing.

We then clicked on "speed
freak." To the music of the Soledad Brothers, (Break Em
On Down), we learn that the car is "wickedly fast — a sleek
fastback silhouette slips through the wind as pure, unadulterated
speed crescendos from one adrenaline rush to the next."

Back to the glossy ad that
dropped out of USA Today.

Also, in large letters is the
following: "Remember, Speed Limits Are Laws, Not Suggestions."

We reached Suraya Da Sante,
a corporate spokeswoman, at Daimler’s home office in Detroit.

"The ad campaign is not
necessarily about speed per se," she says. "It’s more
about unleashing your desires."

What about the 0 to 60 mph
in the low 5 seconds?

"We certainly don’t want
to encourage someone to do that on 0 to 60 on a residential street
or even a highway," she says. "If you want to do that,
there are racing tracks around where you can take the car."

Racing tracks?

"Yes, there are places
where you can take your car to race," Da Sante says.

The whole ad campaign is about
power and speed. Why insult our intelligence and say, "Remember,
Speed Limits Are Laws, Not Suggestions?"

Well, it’s never appropriate
to break the law — laws are there to protect us, she says.

Da Sante says she isn’t sure
whether Daimler’s legal department required that they put that
statement in the ad.

She says that the demographic
for the Charger is a 40-to-59-year-old male, married with two
kids, income from $65,000 to $90,000, and living in the suburbs
of a large city. She says that the psychographic is someone who
is confident, self-expressive, genuine and enterprising.

What about the video on the
web site, with the driver knocking down barriers and ripping
through fences?

"That is an animated video,"
she says. "It is clearly fantasy. It’s not real people ripping
down a road. It is more like a game. Gaming graphics are popular.
It is not a television commercial where it is a real vehicle
and someone is launching a vehicle 20 feet in the air. They were
designed to get you excited and tap into that untamed spirit."

The campaign is more than just
speed, she says.

The theme of the ad campaign:
unleash.

The ideal customer is someone
who wants to liberate their untamed spirit, she says.

They are looking for ways to
go out and grab life by the horns.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton
signed a law revoking the national 55 mph speed limit.

The Insurance Institute for
Highway Safety says that one act by President Clinton has cost
thousands of lives.

Richard Retting of the Institute
says. "When speed limits are raised, it’s no surprise that
drivers go faster, and when drivers go faster, there are more
deaths."

Retting says that the auto
companies are just adding fuel to the fire.

He says that the DaimlerChrysler
ad "encourages reckless, irresponsible driving."

But the ad says — right there
in large print – "Remember, Speed Limits Are Laws, Not
Suggestions."

"Are they saying — we
didn’t mean what we just said?" Retting asks.

Retting says that there were
41,000 deaths on U.S. highways last year.

At least a third of them are
due to speeding.

That’s at least 13,000 deaths
per year due to speeding.

That would be four 911s.

Every year.

Due to speeding.

And irresponsible ads like
the DaimlerChrysler ad are just fueling the fire.

Bloody Daimler.

Bloody Chrysler.

Bloody Dodge.

Bloody Charger.

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based
Corporate Crime
Reporter
.

Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based
Multinational
Monitor
, and co-director of Essential Action, a corporate
accountability group. They are co-authors of Corporate Predators:
The Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe,
Maine: Common Courage Press; http://www.corporatepredators.org).

(c) Russell Mokhiber and Robert
Weissman

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire
Halyna Mokrushyna
Decentralization Reform in Ukraine
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Norman Pollack
World Capitalism, a Basket Case: A Layman’s View
Sarah Lazare
Listening to Iraq
John Laforge
NSP/Xcel Energy Falsified Welding Test Documents on Rad Waste Casks
Wendell G Bradley
Drilling for Wattenberg Oil is Not Profitable
Joy First
Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field
Mel Gurtov
China’s Insecurity
Mateo Pimentel
An Operator’s Guide to Trump’s Racism
Yves Engler
Harper Conservatives and Abuse of Power
Michael Dickinson
Police Guns of Brixton: Another Unarmed Black Shot by London Cops
Ron Jacobs
Daydream Sunset: a Playlist
Charles R. Larson
The Beginning of the Poppy Wars: Amitav Ghosh’s “Flood of Fire”
David Yearsley
A Rising Star Over a Dark Forest
August 27, 2015
Sam Husseini
Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention
Brad Evans – Henry A. Giroux
Self-Plagiarism and the Politics of Character Assassination: the Case of Zygmunt Bauman