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Did ‘Grand Theft Auto 5′ Just Give Dodge $1 Billion in Earned Media?

That headline may be a slight (read: huge) exaggeration, but two things are clear: Grand Theft Auto 5 made a cool billion bucks in three days last week and one of its three main characters drives a car that looks a whole lot like a Dodge Charger. Here’s Franklin’s “Bravado Buffalo”:

Crime spree...

And here’s the latest Charger model:

The real thing

It’s not an exact match, but it’s pretty close. Last week The Wall Street Journal noted that most of the vehicles in the game can’t be tied to specific models because they’re more like combines featuring elements of popular street cars that don’t quite match up. But the inspiration here is quite clear, especially when you look at the game car’s bumper.*

crafty

Forbes video game writer Paul Tassi wonders both whether Dodge was somehow involved in this fake product placement and why the company hasn’t jumped on this free publicity. He theorizes that the brand would rather avoid associated negative press, but it’s more likely that the vehicle is slightly off.

On the other hand, it’s true that Dodge fares far better than other brands directly lampooned by the game’s writers, including Facebook (aka LifeInvader) may be the most obvious example, but Apple (aka iFruit) is also in for a bit of a drubbing.

It may be a stretch, but we feel like Dodge could make the connection on social. A screenshot and a “doesn’t this look familiar?” tweet/post should do the trick. One issue they might want to address: it’s nearly impossible to aim a handgun while driving the damn thing.

*Image via Forbes

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