Best Car Ad of 2010: Fresh Air and Lots of Blue

September 17, 2010
The world needs saving, the environment needs rescuing, it’s all going dark. It’s enough to make you turn to the bottle, or maybe you’re so frustrated, you want to scream about it til you’re blue in the face. Or sing the blues, and plaster a perma-frown on your face. But the advertising geniuses at VW think very differently and don’t see the issue as just black and white. They see it as blue, but a good blue. They see blue as a virtue, you might say VW likes to Think Blue.

It is well known that VW has been a leader in reducing pollutants and emissions from its cars for quite some time. Very high-tech machines these VWs. TDI engines, downsizing engines, fewer cylinders, BlueMotion option packages to reduce fuel consumption, etc. They have taken to the environmental message with full zeal and it’s what makes them standout. Cars that fulfill your everyday needs, make you happy even, and proud to be a VW owner, and you’re not harming mother nature.

Watch this wonderful Think Blue ad, the best VW ad of 2010, in fact I’d say maybe the BEST car ad so far this year, and watch artistic genius unfold.

Simplicity is its main virtue. You are hooked by the intertwining of cartoon-simple imagery, a Danny Elfman-like addictive soundtrack that is the anchor to the whole ad in my humble yet correct opinion, and most importantly, the brilliance of using three colors to tell a story. Black, white and of course, blue.

It uses the color blue in various shads to give warmth and meaning to the ad. It’s amazing what the shades of this color do because it magically offsets all the black (read: bad) we humans emit. It’s subtle, but as things get better, they get bluer in this ad. By using three colors, your eye can focus on the story and characters and action. Color is some cases can distract from such a powerful visual message, and this ad tries to focus you on a message: Be ‘green’ by being (VW) blue.

It’s an ad that tells a story with no dialog, a story that is universal and made for all ages. It’s about contributing to the cause of being good to the earth, and still living a normal life. It’s about spreading good ideas and influencing people to do the “right” thing. (No value judgments here.) Moral correctness aside, I think this is the best VW ad of 2010.

However, there is one thing that made me laugh to myself and realize this ad was made by Germans and NOT for an American audience. There is a short bit where the woman in the office, who has a fan running to cool her off gets the idea of just opening the window in her high-rise office building. Having worked in Germany, this seems normal. But in North America, it’s all locked shut, and it’s A/C all the time. Fresh air and opening windows that someone could fall out of, or worse jump through when time are tough? If the American lawyers were to see this, they file a law suit faster than a VW GTI doing 0-60.

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