I clearly have a gene missing, because these ads from Israel, which play on the stigma of the minivan, make no sense to me. Or rather, the fact that Ford approved it makes no sense to me. Or rather, the fact that minivans have a stigma makes no sense to me.
This type of "minivan shaming" first caught my attention last year when we were in the market for a larger family vehicle. We loved our little Passat Wagon, but our twin toddlers were getting too big to safely get them in and out of the car in busy areas (and in L.A., every place is a busy area). Plus, from the research I've done, it's quite possible my boys will continue to grow for many more years.
Just in the year or so since we purchased our Honda Odyssey, we've become much more of a traveling circus and it'll only get bigger with sports equipment, art tables, busted bikes, camping supplies, other members of my planned preschooler jug band and all the other things that come with childhood.
But, according to a New York Times article that hit the web while we were test-driving minivans, parents typically won't buy the vehicles because said parents don't want to be seen as uncool. That, plus the occasional SUV commercial that bashes minivans, anti-minivan websites and this latest series of print ads show this stigma not only remains a concern for parents, but it also exists in other countries.
You know what? Here's what I care about in a vehicle purchase:
- Safety for my family
- Ease of travel (getting in and out, able to pack a lot of stuff, room for our dog and jug band instruments, etc.)
- Mileage and how it affects my carbon footprint
Here's what I don't care about:
- If the lady doing 35 mph in the fast lane thinks I'm uncool
- If the teen that parked too close to the shopping cart return thinks I'm uncool
- If the teller with the neatly manicured nails at the bank's drive-up window thinks I'm uncool
- Glee (sorry, people)
When I see a family struggling to get their kids buckled into the safety seats in an SUV, I just laugh and laugh, like full-on belly laughs. And I point at them while I'm doing it. The absolute most unfashionable thing anyone can do is worry about whether other people think they're fashionable. So, anyone who lets that influence their vehicle purchasing decision has lost that game before the 12-sided die is rolled. And anyone who chooses an SUV over a minivan because they're worried about looking unhip will quickly need to figure out the coolest accessory to go with a bad back.
The doors on our minivan open by remote control, we've got enough room to buckle our boys in without hunching over and we can also fit baggage, a small gaggle of grandparents and our dog. The only thing missing is a bathroom. I love our minivan. I love it so much, I'd spoon with it if it didn't leave tire smudges on the bed sheets.
Recently, parents have latched on to the phrase "swagger wagon," which was used in a minivan commercial, to counter the stigma and reclaim their hipness or whatever. Seriously, people, calm down. It's not a swagger wagon. It's a van. It's not a symbol of your fading stylishness or a chink in your cool exterior. It's a van. It's not what represents you. No, what represents you is sitting safely buckled in the easily-accessed second row. Of your van.
Jesus, people. I mean really.
(Portions of this post originally appeared on The Daddy Complex.)