Pages

When will it end... Swagger Wagon, Wigger Rappin'

Is this a cool comedic concept or a mindless modern mockery? Are they just imitating Black culture or making fun of black people? At any rate it seems so tired and contrived, it makes you wonder how these things get past the good laugh at the office to an actual commercial.


cred:
Saatchi & Saatchi






Mookie n 'Nem say...

This is exactly the type of b.s. we're talking about. It's disrespectful to African-American culture, African-American people and Hip-Hop culture. We truly believe that all Toyota products should be boycotted. F#@% Toyota and their rappin' wiggers!

(Oh, excuse us while we put down our Haterade. Allow us to run around the block and clear our minds and find a moment of clarity. Thank you.)

OK, in all honesty and all jokes aside, this ad demonstrates how influential African-American culture, African-American people and Hip-Hop culture are. Because of our culture, we put a Black man in the White House, the home of the most powerful nation on Earth and we made an Asian car company feel comfortable enough to use a piece of our culture to hock its s#!t. And ain't nothing wrong with that. As long as we live. It's you and me, baby. Well, we’re moving on up! To the East side. We finally got a piece of the piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!

Or something like dat.

Look, put down the Haterade. Be joyful that the people who were once considered 1/3 human are now being invited to the party in all sectors of American society. Stop looking for racism in EVERY gosh damn thing.

There once was a time when we had to be on hyper vigil. Now ain't the time. We are not saying that everything's perfect. We repeat. We are not saying that racism doesn't happen more often than it should. It still happens far too often. However, like our national color alert terrorism system, let's lower the alert to "yellow," which is elevated, but not "red" or "orange," which is severe or high.

Chill and relax. This ad is funny. It's insightful. It's truthful. And it's good! So don't make it hard for the few brothers and sisters (or non-brothers and sisters) in the ad industry to do what makes them, them. Don't make it hard for brothers and sisters (or non-brothers and sisters) to make it do what it do. (i.e., be true to themselves and the culture they grow up in -- Black and Hip-Hop.)

Say word!









https://sites.google.com/site/mayuradocs/PinIt.png

25 comments:

jenifer daniels - the friendraiser said...

so here is my take...

i think its cute...only because i am a parent and i can relate.

do i think they are mocking - no. frankly, i think that some of the rappers now a days are mocking hip hop.

i think that advertising today is going the way of what they deem to be culturally acceptable and hip hop culture is now culturally acceptable. i simply think that this is their take on what "cool is".

Craig Brimm said...

Thanks Jenifer for such a thoughtful answer. Hip Hop has become a self-mockery. To me there always seems to be a 'laughing at' quality to these commercials. Simply because of the absence of any insightful hip-hop relevance. It's just a perpetuation of the same ol stereotypes.

You can tell when someone really is making a parody of the art form and when someone is just kinda making fun of you.

It doesn't upset me, but it is tiresome.

Anonymous said...

Its SNL skit redone as a commercial. I see no harm in this. We as a people need to stop being so sensitive Geez!

dojo said...

Craig, do you remember listening to the Sugar Hill Gang as a seven year-old for the first time? And trying so hard to learn the lyrics? Do you remember when Planet Rock came out and it was nothing like you've ever heard before? Or buying the RUN DMC cassette tape, finding a piece cardboard or tile and breaking battles against kids in a rival 'hood? I do. And I wrote these ads along with my partner who as a child hung out with members of the Rolling 60s. So, when I read comments, like yours, saying we're mocking black culture, it makes me sad. Don't take yourself - or advertising - so seriously. It's an anthem for parenthood, the counterpoint to "Parents Just Don't Understand." Cause when you have kids you do understand. PS: Please using the word "Wigger." It's racist. ;-)

Nia Richardson said...

I don't think it's mockery, but the fact that suburban white people rapping about suburban shit in the parody of mainstream rap music is so played out in media is what makes it not funny. I'm dying for some originality when it come to using "rapping" in advertising.

Cornel West said...

This is not as offensive as it is just a played out advertising foil. THE RAPING GAG IS NO LONGER FRESH or INTERESTING. It's now just low hanging fruit. It was cool years ago when Smirnoff did the Tea-Partay rap. Since then it's become a go to device sort of like talking animals in beer commercials.

Anyway, a quick recap below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTU2He2BIc0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9S5j70dpQo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aMK8x3fZrc

I'm done.

-Cornel West

Citizen Ojo said...

"Frankly, i think that some of the rappers now a days are mocking hip hop."

That is one of the best quotables I've heard all year.

Um...every since Hammer danced for that chicken it's been on. The horses have left the barn so hey it is what it is...

Craig Brimm said...

Dojo, I merely asked the question. There are things I like about the spot. I think for the intended white audience a lot of people will find it amusing and endear the brand to them.

But even you have to admit there are tons of commercials just like this.

See Cornel West's comments above.

Stan said...

I'm going to comment before I watch it.

Rap music and many of its current artists have become a caricature of themselves. I can barely stand to watch them, and they're Black, so I definitely don't want to watch the white version of shit I already hate, especially if they are looking at these artists and their mannerisms for inspiration.

Google Lazy Sunday, that is a great example of white people doing a parody on rapping

Susan said...

According to these Toyota ads, even White people make better Black folks than actual African American people do. Or perhaps it's just that coming from the mouths of middle-aged white women, diminutive, cherubic tots, or balding suburban-types; the most iconic African American jargon sounds so incongruous as to morph into cruel parody.
But just who are these ads really speaking to? African Americans recognize all too well the use of language to circumvent power, obscure meaning, deflect pain and code reality, while appearing to remain detached. But when Hip-Hop language is stripped of its revolutionary edge by parody, well, I guess, that’s just entertainment - on the real.
SKM

Craig Brimm said...

@Susan: *Me standing and applauding!*

Learn Quran Recitation said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Peta-Ann Smith said...

Considering that I saw Souljah Bois "Pretty Boy Swag" before I saw this, I don't think "Swagger Wagon" is a mockery of hip hop. A lot of 'rappers' beat Toyota to the punch.

Anonymous said...

white people love making parodies out of black culture, because black culture allows them too.

Carm H said...

I agree this is a horrible mess but hip hop is already dead but the mockery of ebonics and calling it "ghetto talk" is pretty harsh...

adchick said...

Uh, I liked it. I didn't think it was offensive at all. But then I live in Hooterville, so what the hell do I know?

Craig Brimm said...

adchick, it doesn't really offend me either, but I did wonder if it bothered some and I understand why. However I don't think I (black male, over 30, professional, extremely handsome, I might add) am the target for this particular spot. I was pretty certain it would resonate with some audiences as evidenced by your comment. Hooterville rocks btw!

dojo said...

Craig,

You're right. White people "rap" has definitely been done before. And the references 'Cornel West' provided show that. But that's not what this is. My partner and I are not fans of rap. We like old school hip-hop. So, we approached this is a hip-hop song dedicated to family life - regardless of race. Our performers just happen to be white. I'm curious: What your blog would have said if the family was black?

Craig Brimm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Brimm said...

Dojo, for some reason your comment wouldn't post so I posted it here with my reply.




dojo said...

Craig,

You're right. White people "rap" has definitely been done before. And the references 'Cornel West' provided show that. But that's not what this is. My partner and I are not fans of rap. We like old school hip-hop. So, we approached this is a hip-hop song dedicated to family life - regardless of race. Our performers just happen to be white. I'm curious: What your blog would have said if the family was black?


Craig says...
If it were black people I would think it was an 'In Living Color' skit from 1989. It is a complete anachronism. I think you guys got a good track, the music is mad decent. Black Iris does really good work. Your choice of producer shows your insider knowledge and does an honorable homage. Conceptually as you admit; we've all been there and done the hell outta that. But the truth is this commercial is not for me. Not only in a critical sense but as a demographic. However as I said before me and you both now for the demo... this sh*t is banging! They will love it! I hope it's available as a download on the web site and on iTunes. You'll get mad love there. It's sorta like Tyler Perry makes a movie, I and probably you will never ever want to see. We know the formula to his flicks work, but to sit through one is to wish for a popcorn & Dr. Pepper induced death. But those movies make crazy money and his audience swears by them. So, for me, it's kinda like this spot. You did the hell out of your job. See adchick's comments above. She gets it. As an faux-angry black advertising blogger (who's really all too happy with his abundant lot in life) I don't. As an African American father and husband who has to tote plenty of sh*t and rocks the hell out of a Volvo wagon, I still am not moved. However and most importantly in this instance; As an Ad-guy, I whole-heartedly see why this works for the demo. If I was your partner on this or even the CD, I would be all in. This kinda sh*t makes money for the agency and moves mad swagger wagons off car lots! I don't know how well I would sleep at night, but I know I would sleep as a highly paid mother-father!

I do also wonder if you have a wife and children. The lyrics are pretty common TV-like fare. There are deeper perhaps more comical or intrinsic insights that could have been rapped about. Like what kids actually do to a car/van interior and the exacerbation parents feel towards it. Stories of family life and rap are both more poignant when they hits at deeper truths.

mtlb said...

Like Nia mentioned, it wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t already done. It’s like they watched Lazy Sunday and Natalie Portman’s riff and then dialed it way back from that.

That’s like watching Pulp Fiction on TBS.

Only thing missing from teh lyrics was this refrain: WHERE MY TOYOTAS AT.

Jennifer said...

Hey there! I'm late to the party but I saw it and have been thinking all these days! I like this Craig. I don't see it as parody, but as one of the creators stated in so many words, it reflects the fact that white people relate to/love hip hop too. I wonder too what would happen if the family was black...I think it would be seen as stereotyping on one hand, but then it would be nice to see a black family who loves hip hop and their kids (we do exist). I don't think it's too late to roll that out.

I also wonder about a black family doing an 80's rock piece...why not kill the boxes all around and while their at it, acknowledge that there are more than black and white families in America these days...unless Arizona lawmakers have their hands in this somehow ;-)

Craig Brimm said...

Jennifer, it's never too late. Great points. See Mojo, Jenn likes your spot and you are killing it on the viral video chart... aaaaargggg!!! You have a winner in this ad. You heat the sweet spot. I aint gotta like it, but it rocks!

Jenn, now that black family 80's rock commercial is a dream come true for me. Mojo can you and I work on this one together????

Anonymous said...

They aren't making fun of black people, they are making fun of white people. The joke is, white people are infinitely un-cool! I can't believe this ad has so many people freaking out about race. It's a joke, and if nothing else, what it is saying is that black people are cool and white people obviously aren't. It's an attempt to make white people feel cool when driving a minivan.

Craig Brimm said...

Dude that is utter bullsh*t! White people are not "infinitely uncool! That's just a pumped up saying to allow for crap like this to mock others culture under the guise of cultural ineptitude. Please Anon, what else you got? Secondly all black people aren't "COOL" either, what is this utter nonsense you are spouting off? Once again you support a flaw premise with yet another flawed premise. Sorry sir/ma'am, if you deal with the facts of race in America and not the fictions of your stated stereotypes; you would recognize that race in America is a subject best broached in truth.

However I do agree with you. Go figure right? It is an attempt to make white people feel cool when driving minivans. And I think they achieve that in a back-handed and humorous fashion.