The Hummer has undoubtedly made its mark in popular culture through countless celebrity endorsements and appearances in TV shows and movies. It has become a modern-day symbol of masculinity and brawn.
Consistent with this brand image, all of the Hummer’s commercials showcase its ruggedness, stability and versatility. Their differences lie in how these features are communicated. In “Video Game,” the Hummer is thrown into a video game setting traversing different terrains and environments. Typically, the vehicle’s target market is class A, male and fond of the outdoors, but it also appeals to hip urban folk who wish to perpetuate an image of being both strong and grand. The video game simulation may be an attempt to tap into the gaming population, specifically those who are racing video game enthusiasts, in order to broaden the scope of its target market. This comes as no surprise since the gaming industry is very lucrative, with around $11 billion annual revenues in the U.S. alone (Leggat, 2004, p. 26). In addition, usually only popular luxury vehicles are featured in video games. The simulated Hummer can only serve to bolster its reputation as a worldwide brand.
As for the influence strategy utilized in this ad, Liking (Cialdini, 1984) is employed through the association of the Hummer with video games. In theory, gamers would naturally respond to the simulation and subsequently, to the vehicle itself. True enough; the ad is eye-catching with its 3-D graphics and the compulsory video game interface with pop-up menus. After seeing the ad, a car enthusiast cum gamer might be intrigued to take it for a test drive. This may even translate into a sale, provided he has the want and the financial capacity. But for those who are more into games than they are into cars, it will take more than simple association to create a sale. After all, purchasing a video game is far cheaper than purchasing a car.
Leggat, G. (2004). Chip off the Old Block: Video Games and the Film Industry Have Become a Billion-Dollar Father-Son Act. Our Resident Industry Observer Graham Leggat Takes It to the Next Level. Film Comment, 40, 26.
Cialdini, R. B. (1984). Influence. New York: Quill.