LoJack "Get It Back"

In a world full of unduly upbeat commercials, there’s something appealing about the somber tone of this spot for LoJack theft-recovery systems (by The VIA Group of Portland, Maine). The protagonist, Ron, gets his car back after it’s stolen, and that’s good. But the spot doesn’t impose a phony air of cheeriness on the narrative. “First thing I thought was how upside-down I was on my car loan,” Ron tells us from the front seat of the vehicle in question. “I’d still be making payments on a car I didn’t have.” Someone so fluently conversant with the slang of personal indebtedness probably has his share if troubles, whether he gets his car back or not. That impression is reinforced by a glimpse the camera gives us of the backseat floor in front of the car’s child seat. It’s strewn with toddler debris, including a broken crayon, bits of toy and a crumpled juice box from which the plastic straw protrudes. (In the absence of LoJack, a fastidious thief might have decided on his own to return this untidy car to Ron’s driveway.) One senses that Ron and Mrs. Ron are coping with life more than flourishing at it. “Lucky for Ron,” says the spot’s host as somber piano chords are sounded,” he had LoJack. His car was returned.” Well, that’s luckier than having your car stolen and not getting it back, but someone who has his car stolen in the first place isn’t exactly an exemplar of effortless good fortune. I won’t be the only viewer who wonders whether getting LoJack was a rare instance of foresight in an otherwise catch-as-catch-can life. But that’s part of what makes the spot so effective. Ron seems like a real person with whom viewers can identify, particularly viewers who live in neighborhoods where car theft is rife. And this augments LoJack’s brand image as a hard-nosed ally that deals with the low-lifes of this world on behalf of people whose cars aren’t safely ensconced in gated communities or watched over by liveried chauffeurs.–Mark Dolliver