Does driving a new car make you want to go to the farmers market or visit a local food shop? If you've turned on the television or checked out any car companies on YouTube recently, perhaps you've started to equate one with the other.
While car companies have tried to align their brands with various upscale food and lifestyle events for years (here's a Lexus guide to Napa Valley, for example), this is a new kind of positioning that draws parallels between quality food and quality cars.
Why force such comparisons? Images of fresh produce and farmers markets definitely help the warm fuzzies come out. Especially when a giant hunk of gas-guzzling metal doesn't usually make one feel sentimental.
Here's how car commercials use food as a selling point:
This Ford ad has been on heavy rotation recently. A little girl sits on Santa's lap and tells him that she's been very good this year. She tells him that she only eats locally-grown organic food, she recycles everything and has a very low carbon footprint. "When you hit up as many farmers markets as I do, that liftgate is a no brainer," she says about the Ford C-MAX, the hybrid car she wants for Christmas. She also denies an offer of a candy cane. "I don't do sugar," she says.
Here's a Jetta commercial that takes place at an organic market. The market "employee" seems to be there solely to scope out the cool cars in the lot.
A Subaru ad features a couple that just met getting goofy at a produce stand after having some chocolate shakes.
Volkswagen shares the story of two entrepreneurs, that got their start using a Volkswagen engine to drive them to New York City to sell fresh vegetables.
Volvo released a spot that features chef Alex Stupak driving from New York to Boston. At about the 1:30 mark, he stops at the side of the road to eat some just-picked berries.
Volvo also is offering video recipes, because why not?
Lincoln spotlights Cacao Prieto, a bean-to-bar organic chocolate company (using single-origin Dominican cacao, naturally) in Brooklyn.
And for a slightly cheekier take on modern food culture, Chevrolet mocks everyone's obsession with taking food photos. Let this be a lesson to all the food obsessives out there -- if car companies are making fun of you, then you really know things have gone too far.