Sunday, May 07, 2006

Perfect Fit

Have you seen the new commercials for the Honda Fit?

Tagline: The Fit is Go!

For example, one commercial shows a colorful, surreal area, where a Fit is lowered upside down from a hole in the ceiling. The Fit is dropped, and flips in midair to land on its wheels.

Then, on-screen text over a background of anime-esque speed lines: "Cat-Like Reflexes. The Fit is Go!"

The Fit is Go! I mean, really. It feels like readiness, motion, energy, but of course it doesn't really mean anything. I guess theoretically you can use "go" as an adjective, in the NASA sense of "We are go for launch." But what this is, I think, is Engrish by design. We have here a very compact car that flaunts its strongly Japanese styling, and it's sold via bright colors, an evocation of anime, and a slogan that sounds like a bad translation. This is a major, fascinating milestone in the American mainstreaming of Japanese pop cultural influences.

Marveling at this, I kept repeating, in my robot voice, "The Fit is Go," until Stephanie cut me off with: "The Kenny is Stop." I was thrilled. This construction has cachet. I urge you to incorporate variations into your daily life.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Fit is become Go.

It is interesting, yes, but I think maybe you overstate the momentousness of this particular construction. It feels like a footnote to a long, sometimes thrilling exchange—and certainly an exchange, as opposed to an adoption. After all, isn't this, at bottom, a reappropriation?

Cough.

Steve said...

The Fit is dropped, and flips in midair to land on its wheels.

This kind of thing says to me, "Our car is so unimpressive that we have to resort to making believe it has magic powers in order to sell it."

I mean, I can make believe the pen sitting on my desk is capable of flying to the moon and serving unicorn flavored ice cream, but that doesn't mean anyone should be willing to drop $13,000 on it.

Kenny said...

This kind of thing says to me, "Our car is so unimpressive that we have to resort to making believe it has magic powers in order to sell it."

But nowadays, selling a car, or anything else, based on its actual merits is completely passe. Honestly the Fit is not a great looking car, but its main feature is flexible cargo space. So what? No one sells features; they sell a point of view, a sense of humor, an attitude. That's what the "fictionalization," as the small print calls it, is about.

The make-believe that you're talking about does happen, but at least here it's clearly jokey and ironic, as opposed to that Jeep commercial which really seems to suggest that useless extra moon roofs are perfect for looking at fish underwater.

lyan! said...

Considering the other things people get excited over when it comes to automobiles, this is as retarded as anything other than moving from A to B.

Nevertheless, Fits are nothing new. My supervisor has one. In fact, here's what I'm going to do. For you. I'm going to catalogue all the stupid (READ: ALL) car names in Japan.

C said...

it's just that "$10,000 cheaper than a good car," doesn't cut it in advertising.