The ads, they are a-changin'

By Alastair Sloane

Mitsubishi has based the advertising campaign for its new four-wheel-drive Triton ute around the old Bob Dylan song A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall.

Using Dylan's lyrics from the '60s cost the carmaker a "little bit more" than it paid for the late Jim Croce's words in the "Slim" campaign for the old Triton.

The Croce chorus went: "You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask of the old Lone Ranger and you don't mess about with Slim."

The old Triton was tough, see. Just like the Slim character. That was the idea anyway.

The first verse of the Dylan song is about a blue-eyed son, misty mountains, crooked highways, sad forests, and the mouth of a graveyard. Then the chorus: "And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard

"And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall."

The repetitive hard stuff is meant to convey that the Triton is still tough, backed up by a Get Hard strap line and a couple of Easter-Island-type figures called "Rock" and "Hard Place" who talk to each other in a Kiwi working-bloke sort of way.

Adapting songs or using familiar faces in TV commercials doesn't come cheap.

A few years ago Citroen New Zealand wanted to borrow TV and print ads, featuring supermodel Claudia Schiffer, that its head office in France was using in Europe.

Citroen head office in France told Citroen NZ it was welcome to use the Schiffer ads - if it first shelled out $US100,000 for the rights to Schiffer's image. Exit Citroen NZ.

Mitsubishi NZ's advertising agency Clemenger BBDO put together the Croce and Dylan ads for the Triton. For the current campaign, it hired little-known Jack Barnes to sing Dylan's lyrics. Jack is the son of long-time Australian rocker Jimmy.

Dylan, 65, is big news again after sales of 100 million records over 40-plus years. His new album Modern Times was released recently to rave reviews. Using a current Dylan hit in a TV campaign would cost more than one of his old numbers. Some of his old songs slide into what makes up New Zealand these days, too. Blowin' in the Wind could be used by those who don't like the way politicians behave. The first line especially: "Yes, and how many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry."

So could Too Much of Nothin' and Ain't No Man Righteous.

A few others could be piped through Beehive corridors, sung by Speaker Margaret Wilson: Let's Keep It Between Us; Driftin' Too Far From Shore; Desolation Row; Never Gonna Be The Same Again; I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know; Gotta Serve Somebody.

The singles Blood In My Eyes and I'd Hate To Be You On That Dreadful Day could be reserved for a couple of the Beehive's streetfighters.

Prime Minister Helen Clark might like to use It Hurts Me Too over the pledge card fiasco. Perhaps What Can I Do For You might be better. Or Rainy Day Woman.

National's leader Don Brash could play with the words in Dylan's Million Dollar Bash and Shelter from the Storm.

Those who think MMP is the biggest political joke could adopt The Times They Are A-changing. It starts: "Come senators, congressmen please heed the call, don't stand in the doorways, don't block up the hall; for he who gets hurt will be he who has stalled; there's a battle outside and it's raging; it'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls ... " A supporting song could be Changing of the Guards.

All Black captain Ritchie McCaw might like to borrow It's All Right Ma, I'm Only Bleeding as the title of his book.

How about Auckland Mayor Dick Hubbard and the songs Guess I'm Doing Fine and Don't Think Twice It's All Right?

Fitting the titles of Dylan's songs to public figures could be a new twist on the game Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Think about it: Abandoned Love, Ballad of A Thin Man, It Ain't Me Babe, Just Like A Woman, Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Like A Rolling Stone, Meet Me in the Morning, Property of Jesus ...

Whatever, Mitsubishi reckons its new Triton has better approach and departure angles than the Toyota Hilux and the best turning circle in the class. It's the only model with a rear differential lock as standard, too.

Buyers have the choice of two engines: 3.5-litre V6 petrol or 3.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel. The petrol unit produces 137kW at 5000rpm and 314Nm of torque at 3500rpm. The diesel delivers 120kW at 3800rpm and 353Nm at 2000rpm. The V6 is mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox. The diesel comes with the five-speed manual.

Triton comes as a single or double cab and is priced between $38,990 and $48,990.

There's another line in Hard Rain that isn't in the Triton ad. It says, "I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of children ... " It fits with New Zealand today, too.

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