Rek asks: What would have been some good answers/attitudes to adopt [in the case of the hapless Gamma from the Ford Fiesta ad]? Silence is my default response.
Silence is, in most circumstances, sub-optimal, but it is usually better than inept self-defense. Women tend to take silence as acquiescence if they are not trying to talk to you; if they are trying to talk to you they take it as a childish refusal to communicate.
However, the answer is predicated upon whether the man involved is actually responsible or not. One cannot respond to a legitimate criticism in the same manner one responds to an illegitimate one. If the complaint about the man being late all the time is more or less true, and he is the present cause of them being late, then he owes her an apology. He should simply say: "You're right. It was my fault we're late. I'm sorry. I hope your parents won't be too upset and I will apologize to them when we get there."
(In the commercial, the guy does indicate that it was indeed his fault. The woman is clearly steaming mad and the guy is already sheepish before either of them says anything. However, being a Gamma, he can't simply take responsibility, and in fact, their being late might well be the result of his passive-aggressive refusal to get ready on time because he doesn't want to go.)
Remember, he has put her in a bad position in a potentially stressful situation. She's going to get blamed by her mother - her father may not notice but her mother surely will - and he owes it to her to ensure that she isn't criticized for his tardiness.
On the other hand, if their being late was not his fault, then she is simply using him as a punching bag in preparation for the well-merited criticism she knows she is going to receive. In that case, a very sharp response that goes to the heart of the matter is in order: "Don't try to put this off on me. You're the one who decided we had to go to their house and you know perfectly well that I was ready to go on time. If your mother is on the warpath again, that's your problem. You can deal with her while I have a drink with your Dad outside on the porch. One can hardly blame the poor guy."
One key distinction between high status and low status is the attitude towards responsibility. The high status man is comfortable taking responsibility. He is accustomed to it. The low status man is uncomfortable with any responsibility and runs from it in most circumstances, particularly when it involves conflict.
Alpha: Yeah, I did it. So what?
Beta: Yeah, I did it.
Delta: Yeah, I did it. Is that a problem?
Gamma: I didn't do it! It's not my fault!
Omega: (frightened deer-in-the-headlights stare)
Sigma: I think you really have to look at society's role in all of this.