Renault Invites You to Burst Out of Your Miserable Prisons

Yesterday Renault began a campaign to use social media as a way to promote its crossover, the Kadjar.

2016 Renault Kadjar advert
2016 Renault Kadjar advert

A fair amount of ink has been spilled about the name. What caught my attention was the slogan: “Dare to live”. The image shows someone hang-gliding on a lovely morning. That would be Renault’s idea of daring to live. Ignoring the fact that you don’t need a Renault Kadjar to take up hang-gliding and that having a Renault Kadjar will not make people think you hang-glide, there is the problem of the implications of the slogan. They are terrible.

Daring someone to live seems to hint that the target audience is not already doing so. Instead they are timidly sleep-walking through their time on earth, petrified to err in the slightest from the path set out by the rules and restrictions of society. That slogan is saying that buying a Renault Kadjar will lend to customers the necessary tools to smash down the walls that are imprisoning them.

They will be able to step out from the shadows in which their futile existences are lived and emerge as heroic, empowered, existential giants suddenly free to do exactly, precisely what they want: hang-glide, leave the wife and kids, dump the dead end job at Corfe’s Office Supplies and instead set off to wander the world and indulge in all the pleasures the senses can offer: orgies, wanton crime, astonishing acts of courage, amazing creative endeavours perhaps.

Maybe daring to live means taking up mind-altering drugs, joining a band or travelling to a warzone to fight for or against whoever they see fit. That’s daring to live. It means cutting the bonds that for better and worse join us to society. It means experiencing the bracing turmoil of true, unfettered individuality, all the joyous highs and all the bruising lows too.

And all of this can be had by going to a Renault dealer and paying £20,000 for a five door, five-seat vehicle with a range of thrifty diesel and petrol engines. Bluetooth connectivity will allow the owners to stay fully in touch as they revel in the astonishing liberty the car has gained for them (what about the repayments though?).

Daring to live?
Daring to live?

What is sad about this slogan is that it just makes painfully evident that few of us dare to live in the existential sense; for those who really do go at life with that hell-raising carpe diem approach it means meeting a sticky end quite quickly. All Renault have done with this slogan is to remind most of us how small is our world and how few are our real life choices (Waitrose, Aldi, Lidl or Safeway, perhaps).

The ad has drawn direct attention to the existential angst that bubbles under the surface of most normal people’s lives. Is this as good as it gets? This dreary, stressful and disappointing life? Answer: yes, buster. Nothing short of a miracle will change that for most of us. Certainly looking for material possessions is not the way forward as most people will agree (if not act on).

Maybe Renault ought to look up the word hyperbole in their dictionary.


Here’s what Renault said about the name, by the way:

  • As the brand continues its offensive on the crossover market, Renault is pleased to present the KADJAR, its first C-segment crossover
  • KADJAR is to be revealed via a social media campaign

 A new name for a new crossover

The name KADJAR is built around KAD- and –JAR. KAD- is inspired by ‘quad’ – representing a go-anywhere four-wheeled vehicle and –JAR recalls the French words ‘agile’ and ‘jaillir’ representing agility and suddenly emerging from somewhere. The sound and spelling of the name have an exotic feel which suggests adventure and discovering new horizons. 

The initial letter ‘K’ is indicative of the model’s robustness and the KADJAR fits seamlessly with Renault’s existing B-segment crossover – Captur.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

19 thoughts on “Renault Invites You to Burst Out of Your Miserable Prisons”

  1. This joins another high-reaching Renault slogan ‘Restart Your Heart’. Gosh, but advertising’s come a long way from when it was a couple of frustrated Oxbridge novelists sitting in the pub trying to outsmartarse each other with talk of 2 Cs in a K. The copy is just as dumbly patronising, it’s just more grandiose and the budgets are bigger.

    Kad or Cad is an old fashioned English term for a dishonourable person and Jar is something you put urine samples in. Put together both words read Cadger, meaning someone who freeloads, asking you for money yet giving you little in return. A bit like ad people really.

    1. I too read it as “cadger”. Maybe Renault could reprise the heady days of tobacco sponsorship in Formula 1 and launch a Cadger Fag edition?

  2. As I’ve mentioned so many times, car companies are inherently conservative They take a long time to catch up (and they never, ever, dare to live). Telling is the fact that Renault (like Toyota last year with their Aygo Go Fun Yourself campaign) announce grandly that “KADJAR is to be revealed via a social media campaign”. It’s quite sweet really – like a bunch of silver surfers, they are so puffed up that they’ve ‘got on the internet’ that the announcement of the fact seems as important as the campaign itself.

    1. ‘like a bunch of silver surfers, they are so puffed up that they’ve ‘got on the internet’ that the announcement of the fact seems as important as the campaign itself.’


  3. In the days when advertising had failed novelists writing copy there was a good chance they had some perspective. The lack of introspection shown here is quite marked. Advertising attracts some real clots today.

  4. Let’s face it, car companies have convinced themselves that every car launch has to have a theme of profound and somewhat poetic or literary meaning – otherwise known as utter twaddle. Why can’t they just say – “This is a nice car” ? Or, “Look, the new Renault Cadjar is roomy and warm and comfy”. How refreshing that would be …

  5. After all, if people are reasonably happy with the previous, say, Clio, all they need to say is “The new Clio – a bit better than the old one”.

    But ad folk are so up themselves they must need a proctologist to help with the brainstorming – to use a phrase they’d understand. The new Mondeo TV – directed by ‘The Fast and the Furious’ director Rob Cohen and made with a 60 man crew (WOW!) – references one from 15 or more years ago for the original Focus (I think) where a guy sailing on a dark and stormy night is saved by his wife/partner/sister/femalebusinessassociate who drives the car round and round in a circle to mimic a lighthouse. The new Mondeo ad has a pilot on a dark night being guided in by the high tech LED headlights of the car driven by (and here the ad folk pat themselves on the back with their generous nod to a post-post-feminist age) the pilot’s husband/partner/brother/malebusinessassociate.

    The sad reality, of course, is that the LED headlights most taxing task for most of us will be looking for the wallet that we dropped somewhere in a dark, wet car park.

    Dare To Get By As Best You Can!

  6. Ad agencies have long been in the business of selling a lifestyle, but if the client has to justify or explain the message then surely one of them is doing something wrong?

    1. Quite correct, but it’s also part of the fact that we all like think we’re so very media savvy these day. Hence, we are happy to be fed spoilers about what is happening in next month’s Eastenders, we press the red button to see how they filmed that incredible stunt and we are expected to be interested in the machinations of an ad campaign. By pretending to involve us, they hope we’ll forget that we are still just the fish in the barrel.

  7. The new Hillman Qre34vlah name explained.
    Its catchy name is derived from the Abyssinian word “Qre” meaning a lion that can’t be defeated even if its paw is sore. The re part evokes recreation, recidivism and replay in the sense that the new Hillman replays all your best experiences and, in a sense, can allow you to replay them by driving the roads you enjoy if you feel likeit. 3 and 4 are numbers related to our hands which have 5 fingers and 3 and 4 are less than five; v refers to five which is the number of toes on each of our feet which are used to control the throttle and brakes. Finally, “lah” sounds like LA, a city famous for its glamorous lifestyle and broad boulevards.

    Hillman: You are never going to die.

  8. The desperate explanations of names are becoming embarrassing. A couple of weeks ago we were told that the Bentey Bentayga evokes not only the Roque Bentayga mountain, but also the Taiga snow forest and even the name of W.O. Bentley. Now we are told that the “-jar” in Kadjar suggests both the French words ‘agile’ and ‘jaillir’

    If nothing else, these people are supposed to be communicators, but this shows a complete contempt for language.

    My own proposal is for a new small crossover, the Citroen Duif. A single syllable word chosen for its compactness, echoing the class leading minimal footprint of the vehicle, and suggesting the phrase ‘do I fucking care?’

  9. It is a bit beyond satire, isn´t it? I felt my own effort wasn´t as toe-curling as Renault´s was. This problem is obviated by using meaningless numbers: R25, R18,R5.

  10. Has anyone read Daniel Bell’s “The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism”?
    One of his theses is that in modern capitalism advertisement has replaced the old metaphysics and values of the bourgeois society.
    The book’s been written in the 1970s…

  11. I haven’t read that but it sounds relevant. Capitalism’s problem is its habit of eating its own. I don’t dispute that the market has some uses but it needs moderation as it’s quite amoral. Sometimes it’s even immoral. Religion and traditional social mores were also problematic but also at their best served as an anchor to resist social turbuence and to remind people of non-market values. Now few adhere even to secular non-market values (usually left-leaning people) while traditional conservatives seem unable to assert the primacy of community and faith over free market considerations. That leaves consumerism to fill the void left by secular social solidarity and religious communitarianism on the left and right respectively.

  12. Laurent will correct me here, but isn’t “to ejaculate” an interpretation of jaillir?

    1. Most certainly is, but I’d advise anyone who cares to listen against using it that way – other than for comedy effect that is.

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