Saturn workers should demand TV ad be pulled


This letter appeared in the Daily Herald (Columbia, Tennessee) on 7 June 2000.

This item may be cited as M. R. Franks, Letter to the Editor: Saturn workers should demand TV ad be pulled, Columbia (Tennessee) Daily Herald, June 7, 2000, at 4.

Copyright © 2000, M. R. Franks

Dear Editor:

In late March, I purchased a new 2000 Saturn SL2. I therefore perked up about a month later when Saturn aired a commercial on national television featuring two cars being driven on a wide open road in an unidentified western state, one by an older male, the other by a younger couple. The context was obviously an impromptu drag race, thinly disguised.

Drag racing is illegal. Thinking it just plain immoral of the company to pander to the immaturity of its lowest-common-denominator viewers, I fired off a letter to Ms. Cynthia Trudell, CEO of Saturn. Appealing to her good judgment and business ethics, I expressed concern at Saturn products being sold in such an irresponsible and undignified manner. As a professor of law concerned with highway safety, I also expressed concern that, under the reasoning of the cigarette-advertising precedents, it might be possible for Saturn Corp. to be sued where a teenager or other driver of little experience or limited intelligence emulates the very type of highway speed contest Saturn encourages, and where catastrophic injuries are sustained as a result.

Having just purchased a new Saturn, I thought Ms. Trudell or her company would at the very least acknowledge my letter, which I sent to her a full month ago both at the corporate offices in Michigan and at the factory in Tennessee. Alas, I have not received the courtesy of any response, and so I write this letter to appeal to the basic morality of the good men and women who own and work for Saturn. To them I say, do the right thing to stop your company from contributing to the 43,000 deaths sustained on our nation's highways each year. Raise a responsible voice through your union or otherwise to insist that your company's fine products be promoted on their merits, not by irresponsible appeals to immature driving.

M. R. Franks
Baton Rouge, La.

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Copyright 2002 by M. R. Franks - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED