How VW Makes You Want Their Cars: They Make You Feel Human

November 2, 2010
I have been watching too many sporting events of late to sustain a happy, blissful marriage. Baseball, football, hockey, F1. I have been glued to the TV as of late and using it as an excuse to watch car ads under the guide of “research” -- which my wife sees through like Plexiglas. But the latest ads from Chevy, especially for the Cruze and Volt, while not earth-shattering actually made me think of Chevy in a new light, one that makes me believe GM is finally understanding the value of great car ads. And oddly, tangentially, it made me think of another brand, in my opinion the masters, the geniuses, nay, dare I say, the ninjas of the car advertising world, Volkswagen. These guys can target your heart, mind, psyche and wallet better than most when it comes to car ads.

The Challenger
So it was with no small amount of joy when I watched some of the latest ads from Chevy for the Cruze, especially the ones that directly name, excuse me, wrong word -- target their competitors by name, the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla and the Ford Focus. Pretty bold, I’d say. And the ads were well done too. Take a look at the Civic Hunting one, and you can see a lot of thought went into it, with the use of shadows, subtle stalking techniques, even mystery and menace. It really is a solid effort from Chevy and they should be commended for taking on the automotive division champs (too much sports again) in a category everyone thought GM couldn’t or wouldn’t compete in.

The Masters
And then, just as I was about to sing Chevy’s praises, a funny thing happened on the way to the Coliseum - the real mondo car ad champ came up with a brilliant ad, and guess where? In New Zealand. A VW ad that I think is one of their best this year, and one that positively is leagues above most other car ads from any manufacturer. It’s the result of letting filmmakers make commercials, and not ad agencies. It’s a simple yet fantastic ad, without a word spoken, just wonderful imagery, brilliant film editing and a story line that is as human and common as could be - running out of the house in the morning with bed head to get some milk when you’re all out if the cow juice.

Watch how skillfully put together this ad is, watch how each character is so normal, watch how VW shows off its cars perfectly in all circumstances, and then just enjoy the ad and what it teaches us. Buy a VW and life is simple yet grand. The Chevy ads are very good, but VW makes you want to buy their cars by playing on your emotions in a very subtle way. That’s the key difference.

Enjoy and let me know if you liked it as much as I did. 


Checy Cruze Ad



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