For this exchange, students from Stanford and the American University in Cairo posted and commented on each other’s analyses of political cartoons and advertisements.
This dodge challenger clip uses both the element of surprise, and heavy American historical and cultural references to create an effective and humorous ad. In American culture, one of the defining qualities of a stereotypically “macho” man is his masculine car. Because of this, most car companies will try to insert other supposedly manly themes into their ads, like beer, women and patriotism.
The ad contains a wide variety of American historical references with which we would not expect any other audience to be familiar. To an American, the red-coated soldiers in the beginning of the ad immediately represent British soldiers during the American war of independence, and this establishes a “good guy” vs “bad guy” structure for the rest of the ad. We expect some sort of appearance from the American army, but the shock of them appearing in dodge challengers is hilarious. The image of George Washington (another instantly recognizable figure that may not be obvious to non-Americans) is particularly incongruous and funny to an American audience.