This is currently my favourite bus shelter poster advertisement. “What’s your favourite colour?” it asks, with a row of, let’s face it, wussy-coloured Nissan Micras depicted. The word ‘Micra’ is in aqua; the first Micra is that colour. The next is a kind of pink that I guess would be somewhere between mauve and what apparently is called ‘opera mauve’, followed by an even wussier shade that seems to be between grey and light mauve. Only the blue and red cars exist in strong colours. And what a shade of red. It’s lipstick red.
So what’s this ad actually communicating?
Is it saying, ‘our cars come in great colours to mix and match with your accessories; just like make-up’? Maybe it’s an attempt to make a pissy little car seem trendy.
But the pissy little car is a positive feature, in this modern, globally warming world in dire need of reduced carbon footprints. I assume they’re pissy little cars – the model name is ‘Micra’, after all. Like ‘Micro’, only more effeminate.
So is this a chick’s car? Is that why it’s being advertised as lipstick?
Well yes, that’s probably part of it. But look at the shade of lipstick: it’s a hot, provocative shade. As if to say, it might be a little car, it might be a sensible car, but it’s not a ‘girl-next-door’ car. It’s a ‘racy’ car; it’s a ‘saucy’ car; a ‘sexy’ car that ‘goes off like a firecracker’; a car that ‘bangs like a dunny door in a windstorm’. Or words to that effect.
But there’s another layer to this ad.
Sports cars have long been looked upon as phallic symbols, penis substitutes…. There’s always been that connection between ‘fast women and hot cars’. And there’s no mistaking the lipstick as a phallic symbol in this ad.
So what if you are an environmentally aware male driver, opting for a smaller car? Or a driver who can’t afford or can’t handle a bigger, stronger, environmentally inconsiderate car? This is what the ad is saying to you:
“There’s no need to feel totally emasculated by having a tiny dick-car. Your car is still phallic because it equals lipstick. So, even if you’re so clever that you can no longer kid yourself about the big dick-car’s damage to the earth, or that your car will get you laid, even if you won’t be burning much rubber (so to speak) this here micrapenis car will still get you the odd spot of… lip service….”
- My friend Cristina writes, “This is definitely a chick car – one of its major selling points is
that it has a spare shoe compartment under the passenger seat…”. Since I don’t actually drive, I don’t know stuff like that exists. Instead, I get annoyed by stupid posters at bus stops.