Land Rover: Lies, insults and arrogant TV ads February 12, 2007Posted by Andreas in Environment, Society, South Africa, Sustainable Living.
There’s an ad on the TV at the moment that’s really bugging me. You might have seen it yourself, it’s the one for the new Land Rover.
An Inuit man is seen steering his husky-drawn sled across an ice and snow-covered landscape. Suddenly a big Land Rover pulls up next to him. The man driving the SUV and the Inuit smile and wave at each other through the passenger window.
The Inuit is so perplexed by the sight of the man in the comfort of his car with his dog curled up on the backseat that he loses control of his sled and is thrown off it. In the next scene, the Inuit is seen running after the Land Rover and the bolted sled.
Last, we are shown the Land Rover logo with the punch line, “Go Further”, written below it. Fin. (There’s actually another version which I found online, and which I guess we might still get to see on our TV’s, in which the Land Rover driver gives the Inuit and his huskies a lift).
Why do I dislike it so much that I would rant about it in public? Well, for starters, it’s a lie. In the deep arctic wilderness, which is where we’re obviously meant to believe this is happening, you will not come across a man in a Land Rover taking his doggy for a joyride – no roads, no petrol stations, no cars, not even 4x4s. But then most ads lie almost by definition, so that’s not the main reason.
What annoys me more about this particular ad is that it’s almost as if someone tried to come up with a perfect parody of the relationship between modern civilisation and so-called primitive people. The civilised way of life (symbolised by the Land Rover and its driver) performs better and is more comfortable in the very environment which has up until now been the harsh and inhospitable home of the primitive indigenous people.
I consider it an insult to my intelligence that I’m expected to ignore the fact that Inuit have successfully lived in this environment for hundreds of years in balance with nature and without destroying their environment, while huge, petrol-guzzling cars like the Land Rover are one of the very reasons why the Arctic is melting away before our eyes.
Modern civilisation literally overtakes the savage (noble, but still savage), whose inferior way of life (the sled) disappears into the distance. Civilisation hardly notices the genocide and environmental destruction it leaves in it’s wake and carries on its merry way without giving it another thought. (In the second version, of course, civilisation saves the primitive from themselves by graciously taking them into the future, the civilised, motorised future).
You may say that I’m over-analysing this whole thing, but to my mind the ad really stinks to high heaven. It displays the same arrogance towards indigenous people that was exhibited recently by the government of Botswana in its dealings with the Basarwa Bushmen.
When are we going to learn to respect indigenous people and their incredible knowledge of living on this planet in a sustainable fashion? When will we stop looking at them as miserable basket cases in need of our civilised guidance? When will we realise that we may very well need their know-how very soon to overcome our own problems?