VW Golf Ad Of The Week: Infidelity, Reliability, Jealousy

August 24, 2010

Many of my friends and acquaintances know of my ambivalence toward VW cars of all stripes. Their cars run the gamut from practical (Golf, Sharan, Touran, Polo) to very sporty (GTI, Scirocco) to luxurious (Passat, CC, Phaeton) to frivolous (Eos). They cover all their bases, make nice looking, desirable products, that feel solid and have spectacular interiors for the price. And in some parts of the world, the resale value is super solid. So you get the whole package, right?

Well, here comes the ambivalence part. VWs as far as I know them from various car chat rooms, anecdotal evidence, and direct evidence from friends and family are difficult cars to live with. They can have electrical problems, they are expensive to repair, VW is not particularly friendly to its customers when things do go wrong, and VW has refused steadfastly to adapt its cars for North America until very recently (witness plunging sales numbers).

So what does this have to do with the price of beer in Bavaria? VWs inspire passion either for or against. And one thing VW has done very well and very consistently throughout the decades to inspire passion for their cars is make fantastic car ads. Whether print or TV, they have been amazing from top to bottom. Even a reckless ad that got pulled (in the USA) was still well done and generated buzz (albeit not terribly positive). I recall a marketing buddy of mine saying there is nothing worse than not being remembered. But there are so many memorable VW ads from around the globe.And this week’s VW ad is worth remembering just because it takes you by surprise, but not in a Jack-The-Ripper kind of way, more in a that-was-funny-and-smart kind of way. This ad deals with the foibles of humans, of relationships between man and woman, and more importantly, between man and car. I mean what greater bond is there than man and car, especially if it’s one you really want and that your significant other has denied you because it’s not a manliness-mashing minivan?

What I like most about this is that it strings you along for a bit, especially if you don’t know it’s a VW ad, and the way it drops its message on you. Suddenly it goes from the subject of infidelity and a marriage gone awry to a guy smitten with a new love, obviously borne of jealousy or just plain coveting his neighbor’s VW Golf GTD. It mixes those issues of reliability, infidelity and jealousy perfectly but moving the target from life of strife (a.k.a. ‘wife’) to rolling temptation (notice the car is all sinister black?).

I think this is a great VW ad. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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