Monday, August 8, 2011

Can An Amish Guy Do An Oil Change?

Bosch has launched a viral YouTube video which encourages people to change their own oil, by using a Purolator filter. According to their website, Purolator has been manufacturing and distributing automotive filters since 1923. The history of the oil filter category actually has its roots in Purolator, which was shortened from "pure oil later."

Well, anyway, back to their latest ad.

This video begins with an Amish man driving his horse and buggy. A super appears, which says:  

"Can an Amish guy do an oil change?"

Honestly, I fully expected this was a spoof of some type. I was intrigued, so I continued to watch. I soon discovered this was no spoof.  Bosch and their New York ad agency, Grey, actually created this commercial to encourage people to do their own oil changes.

I have to admit that I am close to speechless after watching this ad ... and believe me, that doesn't happen very often.

If I could assume the duty of being an account planner for Grey for one day, I could almost script the genesis of this idea.

Planner: Hey guys, Bosch has got this new way of doing an oil change that's really easy.

Creative: Really. That doesn't seem very interesting ... aren't all oil changes easy?

Planner: Well, yeah, but this one is really easy.

Creative: How easy is it?

Planner: It's easy enough that someone that has never done an oil change before could actually do it.

Creative: You mean, like an Amish guy?

Planner: Yeah.  Ha ha. That's pretty funny. That's a good tagline ... easy enough that an Amish guy could do it.

Eureka! A creative idea is born!

Okay, I get the single-minded message. No circuitous route to get there.

But, I can't help but think that this commercial is making fun of Amish people and their religious beliefs. Amish people are prohibited from owning, starting, or driving a vehicle because it detracts from the Amish way of life. This is a fundamental tenet of their religious beliefs.  It's so important that the consequences of even starting the engine of a car could result in being shunned from Amish society.

To illustrate this point, at the end of the commercial, the announcer and the Amish man engage in the following conversation:

"Do you ever think of starting one up?"


"Would you get in trouble if you started the car?"

"I would be shunned. My neighbors would have nothing to do with me."

"What if you tinted the windows?"

"Yeah, but God would know ... and I would know ... and you would know."

Is it just me or do you find this ad disrespectful?

Even, if this isn't a real Amish guy, but some actor that grew a beard, put a straw hat on, and wore plain clothes, it is still making light of a belief system that the Amish people hold near and dear to their hearts.

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