January 1, 2004
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Madison: Pioneer Electronics has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for launching a stealth $3 million advertising campaign for its car stereo equipment, with the theme “Disturb,” “Defy,” “Disrupt,” and “Ignite.” Pioneer boasts that its campaign is “full of attitude and edgy documentary-style video,” and is targeted to the “16-24 year old male ‘Tuner’ with a passion for cars and entertainment.” According to Pioneer, “Tuners have created a lifestyle around their love of chrome and nitrous oxide,” and personalize their vehicles “to create works of art that make a statement.”
And what sort of “statement” does Pioneer want Tuners to make by adding powerful amplifiers and subwoofers to their cars, which are already loaded with loud, illegal racing equipment? “That they have the right to disturb the peace from a mile away,” said Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director. “That they should have feelings of aggression and hostility toward society. That they have the right to assault communities. Pioneer and other electronics companies are supporting violence, thuggery, and delinquency.”
Pioneer hides its violent, vulgar advertising campaign from the public, by selectively targeting print media within the macho industrial complex. It advertises in “mobile entertainment enthusiast publications” (Super Street and Euro Tuner), “urban music publications” (Vibe and The Source), and men’s magazines (FHM and Maxim). These publications are dedicated to the complete toxic testosterone lifestyle: NASCAR, guns, violent video games, rap videos, tattoos, steroids, street racing, heavy metal music, action movies, penile implants, T and A, power equipment, off-road vehicles, huge television screens, and tough-man contests.
Each Pioneer ad contains a one-word slogan (“Disturb,” “Defy, “Disrupt,” and “Ignite”) designed to get Tuners to move from a published page to a web-based one. The web pages come complete with mini-movies, animated commercials, and Pioneer product information. One of Pioneer’s web-based videos shows a young man joking that his car stereo was so loud it sent a small child screaming to his mother. Another adolescent Tuner laughs at using his inheritance (intended for his education) on a $30,000 car stereo system.
According to Rueter, “Pioneer is not the only electronics company to use aggressive, malicious themes to promote boom car equipment. JBL gloats, ‘Either we love BASS or hate your neighbors.’ JL Audio warns, ‘Be Very Afraid.’ MSX swaggers that it is “proud to be loud.’ Kicker asserts, ‘You deserve a beating…Kicker’s loudest, meanest subwoofer ever.’ Concept blusters, “When TOO loud…is just right!” Lightning Audio promises ‘sonic submission.’ Boss Audio System advises, ‘Turn it down? I don’t think so.’ Cerwin-Vega Mobile Audio vows to ‘Shake the living, wake the dead.’ Crossfire crows, ‘We’re louder…Deal with it!’ Earthquake Sound offers ‘the Meanest, Loudest, Most Powerful , Mother F— Amplifiers Money Can Buy!”
Rueter commented that “Pioneer Electronics and other manufacturers of car stereo equipment are promoting mean streets and mean people. Boom car advertising champions brutality, savagery, and acoustic terrorism. Boom car equipment is at the core of a vicious, violent, anti-social subculture. The nation needs to take strong action against the growing menace of loud car stereos.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens group opposed to noise pollution. The group’s web site, http://noisefree.org, contains ads from boom car companies.