The bar for any car ad where the premise is a staged focus group and there’s a reminder that the commercial has “Real people. Not actors” is about as low as you can possibly get. I’ve learned to expect more enjoyment from a groin rash. Even with that in mind, this Chevy Cruze ad is awful.

The basic premise of this insipid commercial starts normally enough, with a bunch of alleged-but-still-a-bit-too-attractive-to-believe ‘real people’ being herded into a room with a Chevy Cruze LT and a big, fake screen.

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The people are then told that they’re going to be shown the 2016 Chevy Cruze, and that the proctor wants to know what they think. Then the really open those stupid taps to full blast, and the guy running things tells them “But here’s the catch: you can only answer in emojis,” to which the crowd implausibly gasps with joy and a woman makes this face of surprised delight:

Yeah, that didn’t happen. This is bullshit. No adult human being, not even ‘Mikaela’ up there, would have that reaction to being told “you can only answer in Emojis” unless right before this focus group she was involved in a focus group testing the effects of some new formulations of extra-strength MDMA.

I don’t get Chevy’s weird fascination with Emojis. I guess maybe they think a cute girl texting or Tweeting or twizziling a winky-face emoji to that screen is somehow going to be more relatable to the millenial demographic than having her speak in, you know, words?

It was almost exactly a year ago that Chevy released that all-Emoji press release, too. That was embarrassing and stupid, and this commercial somehow manages to build upon that, making something so insipid that it’s almost insulting.

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If I were a millennial (I’m not; I’m a miserable old bastard who’s writing this on a CP/M machine) I think this would just make me want to get the hell away from Chevy, as far as I possibly could. This commercial would tell me (that’s the hypothetical millennial me, with a full, luxuriant head of hair) that Chevy thinks I’m a sub-literate drooling simpleton who’s incapable of making an actual decision.

Also, that screen: that’s bullshit, too. How, exactly, is that thing working? Am I supposed to believe that for this ‘real people’ focus group Chevy had designed a custom projection system that takes text messages, pulls the emojis out of them, replaces them with corresponding large, high-resolution versions, and then displays them on a screen? Why are they pretending this is in any way casual, unscripted, and real?

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Why do car companies still make these stupid ‘real people’ ads, anyway? Have they ever been good, even when the car company trusts the people enough to allow them to respond in a language beyond a set of pictographs you could teach a chimp?

If you really hate yourself, you could watch this over-two-minute supercut of the ad, like I did:

This version also has a guy, at about 0:48, who actually says:

“When you’re driving, the last thing you want to be doing is trying to focus extra hard on what you’re looking at.”

... which might be the stupidest statement ever uttered in one of these ads since Toyota lowered the collective global IQ by introducing us to the phrase “grounded to the ground.

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This long version did at least have one bit of compelling information that actually could make me interested in the car: it has heated rear seats. That’s a decent little feature that could actually be a deciding factor for somebody.

But seriously, Chevy: knock it off with the emojis. I know you think Millennials are deeply, profoundly stupid, but I promise you, they’re not. This focus on emojis and other easy, stupid, half-assed shit that you think is how you connect with the younglings is fucking embarrassing.

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Make good, cheap, fun-to-drive, practical cars, and Millenials will buy them, because they’re people, not walking Twitter feeds that can get their parents to buy them cars.

Please. For the sake of humanity not wanting to jab themselves in the face with sharpened chicken bones, knock this 💩 off before everyone loses it and tells you to go 👉👌 a 🐗 in the 🍑.

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