Dodge Charger “Man’s Last Stand”

We all should have known that when Wieden + Kennedy cast Michael C. Hall, best known for his role as Showtime’s suburban serial killer Dexter, as the voiceover talent for its Dodge Charger campaign, we were in for something special. In this case, special equals intense. The teaser ads provide a peek at the reclaim-your-manhood positioning, but none paint as dismal a story of the pent-up male psyche as the campaign’s debut on the Super Bowl. As one of Adweek’s guest in-game ad commentators noted, the ad veered into “American Psycho territory.” The camera focuses on sad male faces as Hall rattles off all the obligations of the day, e.g., “I will get up and walk the dog at 6:30 a.m….” Tension builds as the voiceover dives into more personal compromises, from work life — where he says he’ll only say what’s expected of him — to home life, where, “I’ll carry your lip balm … [and] watch your vampire TV shows with you.” It becomes a mantra of grinding frustration. Hall’s unwavering cadence takes on an added urgency with each beat of his proclamations, especially when the camera starts closing in on the eyes of one man trapped in suit and tie. “And because I do this,” I chop people up and throw their body parts into the ocean. Of course, that would be Dexter’s completion of the thought, not the Charger man’s, who instead explains, “I drive the car I want to drive.” The roar of the engine kicks in and the view changes to the muscle car on the road — an image of freedom. Now what about the women who need to break out of their mundane lives for a moment? The Big Game offered us Sketchers “Shape-ups” so we can get fit “without stepping foot in the gym.” I’ll take the Charger. —Eleftheria Parpis