Maserati, based out of Modena, Italy, has always been known for its high quality performance and upper echelon appeal. It’s a company that has been producing sleek, sexy racing cars that have won countless auto races for 100 years.; in fact, they are the only Italian automaker to ever win the Indianapolis 500! Growing up lower middle class, we never even thought of owning one. We bought Chevys or Fords. Maserati’s were for people with money: the business owners and the lawyers and doctors. Not us.
Last night, during the Super Bowl, Maserati pitched the American people something different. Their commercial takes the perspective of the underdog, the under belly of society.
For the ad, Maserati hired Oscar nominated child actress, Quvenzhane Wallis to narrate (most recently, she played a key part in the Oscar nominated film, 12 Years a Slave). During the Maserati commercial, Wallis leads the audience through a land of ruin, speaking words worthy of inciting a revolution.
She says, “The world is full of giants. They have always been here, lumbering in the schoolyards, limping through the alleys. We had to learn how to deal with them, how to overcome them.” Wait…what? Isn’t Maserati a company of giants for giants? Don’t their automobiles usually sell for well over $100,000?
Continuing to represent Maserati, Wallis says, “We were like a wind appearing out of nowhere. We knew that being clever was more important than being the biggest kid in the neighborhood. We wait until they get sleepy, wait until they get so big they can barely move, and then walk out of the shadows, quietly walk out of the dark- and strike.”
As these words are chanted, the commercial flashes images of America’s working class. There are welders sweating and laboring. There are middle class farm houses being threatened by giant twisters, and fireman at work, taming life-threatening fires. Adding to that, of course, is Quvenzhane Wallis, a girl that has built her career on playing oppressed, underprivileged characters.
Watching this commercial, it becomes apparent that Maserati is trying to not only sell a product, but a new image. They want to be viewed as an attainable, working class company. They have vehicles that you and me and everyone we know can own if we keep our heads down and work hard. The commercial ends with the image of the Maserati Ghibli, a car that is now selling for $67,000. According to Forbes, “Ghibli is the least expensive Maserati available in the United States, undercutting the Quattroporte S Q4 by almost $40,000.”
In the eyes of Maserati, $67,000 is a working class car. According to their Super Bowl ad, it’s a car that welders and fireman can own. They say, “As long as we keep our heads down…as long as we work hard, trust what we feel in our gut, our hearts.” As long as Americans do that, they can now have a piece of Maserati.
Well thanks…I guess. Actually, now that I think about, I don’t think $67,000 is great for my middle class salary. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with the car or anybody that wants to buy it. In fact, I’d be damn proud if I could. But Maserati, don’t pretend to be something that you’re not. And don’t insult my intelligence with your ad, either.