Chevy Pays Tribute to Prince

Tributes to Prince, following news of his death on Thursday, have been pouring in and one of the most poignant ones has come from Chevrolet. The General Motors’ marque ran full-page ads in six dailies – New York Times, USA TODAY, Los Angeles Times, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News and Minneapolis Star Tribune – with the simple, single line “Baby, that was much too fast”, a reference to lyrics from Prince’s 1983 song ‘Little Red Corvette’; in the ad, a crimson ’63 Chevy Corvette is featured against a black background.

Chevy’s ad evoked positive reactions and has been retweeted more than 11,000 times and received more than 12,000 ‘likes’. Other companies have also attempted tributes but with varied success – Cheerios is dealing with an onslaught of angry responses for what has been generally deemed a self-promotional ad, with a Cheerio dotting the ‘i’ in the epitaph “Rest In Peace”; the legendary singer never did sing about breakfast cereals of dubious nutritional value.

‘Little Red Corvette’, on the other hand, was one of Prince’s greatest hits of that era. The song is woven with sexual innuendos from start to end, with verses like “Little red Corvette; honey you got to slow down“ and “Move over baby; Gimme the keys; I’m gonna try to tame your little red love machine”.

According to a Chevy spokesperson, Craig Daitch, when they heard the news, they knew they had to pay tribute to the one who had immortalised the Vette so cleverly in song. The idea came together in a matter of hours but the brand’s ad agency, Commonwealth/McCann took care to think “how we could do that tribute in a tasteful way”.

“We didn’t want to make the piece about Chevrolet. This was a tribute to Prince and Prince fans,” the Daitch said.

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