Car commercials and dumb disclosures

You’ve probably seen this Mercedes commercial. It’s been running for a while now. What’s silly about it is the fine and extremely unnecessary print that appears when the car crashes through the concrete wall. “Dramatization. Professional driver on a closed course. Do not attempt.” Seriously? We couldn’t figure that out for ourselves?

Mercedes disclosure
Mercedes disclosure

I don’t blame Mercedes for the ridiculous warning. Government regulations required Mercedes to include it. Worse, such warnings are required because some people in this country are actually dumb enough to try what they see on TV — and then sue somebody when they get hurt doing it. We can’t have Mercedes owners driving through concrete walls, now, can we?

Silly as that is, however, Ford Fusion has taken it a step farther. Check this out:

Did you catch the fine print?

“Fictionalization. Professional driver on closed course. Do not attempt. Cars cannot fly.” (Emphasis mine.)

I died laughing when I first noticed it, but now I don’t know what to think. Is that disclaimer/disclosure serious or was it done tongue-in-cheek? Is it sly humor, or an intentional dig at FTC regulators — or both? If it is a genuine, straight-faced disclaimer per government regulations, we are in a sorry state indeed. Actually, we’re in a pretty sorry state regardless.

10 thoughts on “Car commercials and dumb disclosures

  1. I think your last sentence summed it up pretty well PT. I’ve been tempted many times to post about the absurdity of disclaimers in ads but haven’t because, well hell, there’s just so many stupid ones and I’d never be able to stop. But there are those that are just cool to look at, like that Fusion ad. πŸ˜€

    1. The most pathetic disclaimers are those on pharmaceutical ads. Most of their content is disclaimers. They have to hire “fast talkers” to get it all in. Of course, I don’t think DTC ads for prescription drugs should should be allowed in the first place, but that’s a whole ‘nother issue.

      Oh, I agree, the visuals in a lot of ads are great. So much imagination and creativity. It’s just sad that there are so many disclaimers needed because either (A) there are so many stupid, litigious people in our society or (B) the ad should never have seen the light of day in the first place.

      (So you want a flying Fusion for Christmas, eh?)

      1. I completely agree that DTC pharma ads should be disallowed, PT. Some will claim this is a First Amendment issue but the very fact that some medicines are prescription-only should be prima-facie evidence that their use is generally beyond the abilities and judgement of most lay-people to manage. Just imagine a libertarian world in which there were no government restrictions whatsoever! I picture thousands would be popping penicillin for their common colds and the end of efficacy for all antibiotics!

        1. It’s not about the First Amendment and the drug companies know it. It’s about medical ethics, professionalism, and public safety — something the drug companies blatantly ignore.

  2. Ha! I love it! If companies are required to post stuff like that only because of people like in the movie, “Jackass”, then I say make it more interesting, which is humor in this case. Thanks! Actually, I have not seen the Mercedes commercial. I watch very little TV anymore.

  3. Car commercials these days are really idiotic. All they seem to focus on is how stupid fast a car will go. What ever happened to presenting an automobile for its safety features and comfort? The latest of inane car commercials is a Cadillac commercial where some middle-aged guy is “blowing the doors off” of the car’s competition. It’s so lame. This goofy looking aged guy with a simpleminded grin driving like an ass****. And that is the only attribute of this new caddy? Why not focus on what is relevant in an automobile? I guess if you gauge the fathom low level of intelligence of TV nowadays, it’s no wonder commercials have gotten so dumb as well.

... and that's my two cents