National Geographic Magazine, October 2007, Volume 212, No 4.
Nature as well-loved pet; In this beautifully nostalgic ad, Chevy has fashioned a present day Charlotte’s Web - styled narrative brilliantly in one image. Nature as represented by the absent spider tells us a story, or maybe she has left us humans a ‘Dear John’ letter.
She may be communicating that she is dependent on our purchase of ecologically sound Chevy technology to survive, or her absence may be one last note of her unconditional love for us, much like the unfailingly faithful slave of antebellum fiction.
This ad imagery also presents a Capitalist Nature, not only for the textual component promoting the proliferation of their technology for profit, but also in the way that the landscape [read: nature] is objectified, and we the viewer stand outside the frame of reference, which places us in a position of power. Both we and Charlotte are the subject/object in this ad. We are powerful by our ability to surveil and affect her activity and vitality in the Foucauldian sense. Charlotte is subject both to our consumption choices (a la Katz 1998) as well as subject of the image. We also become the subject as Charlotte references us despite the fact that she cannot see us. Her love note is almost like a prayer lifted up to an unseen but believed in god. She if off living her life, hoping that her benefactor deity will recognize her undying affection and have mercy on her in these troubled times. She cannot see us, nor we her likely because she is too SMALL, though we have evidence of her [natural] love for us…puns!
No matter the true narrative intent of the ad, this image certainly makes me want to hig and kiss every arthropod to cross, and whisper a promise over its sensitive leg bristles that serve as ears, “I love you too…I vow to protect you and rewardyour undying affection…with a brand spanking new chevy automobile that i will drive for hundreds of low-emission miles across highways which fracture animal habitats and human neighborhoods! I will save nature, I will save you Charlotte. I drive…for YOU!”
Yes, I over dramatize, but tell me that you don’t feel the warm tingly from the warm lime-green? sunset reflecting off of the “xoxo” framed by fuzzy little clumps of moss?