HUMMER's image has always been one of excessive excess. While much of that portrayal is due to GM's own marketing, the people who purchase the imposing 'utes – be they high-profile celebs or well-to-do suburbanites – have done more to define the brand than GM's marketing boffins ever could. But the General wants to change all that.

Mark LaNeve, GM's North American veep of sales, service and marketing, is spearheading a campaign that's trying to show HUMMERs in a different light; specifically vehicles to get a particular job done. "No one criticizes a bulldozer for its gas mileage. That's because it's built to do a job," laments LaNeve in a USAToday interview. Fair enough Mark, but a bulldozer has a single-minded purpose – moving earth – whereas HUMMERs aren't always being used to plug mud and move boats. They've become lifestyle vehicles that are often not used for their intended purpose – just like the majority of SUVs on the road.

Regardless, GM's recent ad campaigns attempt to show the HUMMER in a more functional light, depicting the overblown SUV hauling firefighting gear and helping out with natural disaster relief. "Purpose Built" is the new tagline, but at the end of the day, no amount of PR will help HUMMER if people continue to see them parked outside the local Starbucks.

[Source: USAToday via Winding Road]