2012 VW Beetle: Marketing Says It’s Not a Chick Car

April 21, 2011

Believe it or not, I actually know a male, allegedly with genuine cojones, who owns a VW New Beetle--with an automatic no less! So naturally you’re thinking he’s some kind of sissy, or doesn’t know what a real car is, or doesn’t appreciate what driving and being a car nut is all about. Sure, you’d mostly be right. And I can imagine all the comments you’re making, questioning this person’s manhood (I am perhaps the guiltiest of all of you in that respect).

And at the New York Auto Show VW goes and gives us the brand new 2012 VW Beetle, complete with turbocharged engines, an optional Fender stereo system to blow the wax out of your ears, and possibly cause hearing loss. No more flower vase, a mean looking interior meant for drivers and with optional carbon fiber trim, no less. And let’s not forget that flattened roofline, with stronger character lines around the wheel wells, a meaner front face, and some attitude with big wheels to top it all off.

You see, VW was upset that this car was so overwhelmingly purchased and driven by females and that any male associated with the car had his manhood questioned. Based on the demographics of VW New Beetle owners (55% of which are women, the other 45% probably metrosexuals concerned with the curse of puffy eyes and too much red meat) we can see why the term “chick car” stuck. This was not what the VW marketing department or its sales force wanted. Such shame! It’s a chick car! We have to make men lust for the car so they do irrational things like set up websites dedicated to it, so they race it, so they can use it to make up for the lack of intimacy they would normally be getting from their significant other. 

VW had a mission, they decided to redesign this latest version, drop the word “New” and make sure it will appeal to males. Young males. How do I know?

  • They said so at the reveal and marketing people never lie
  • They plan on using MTV to pitch the car to youth
  • The carbon fiber trim and turbocharger

Now let me get to the updated Beetle ad being played all over on the web. It is the Beetle in the jungle, Black Betty-tuned commercial we all saw during the Super Bowl, and now we can see what the newest Beetle looks like. Frankly, I think the commercial is the weakest link of the car’s introduction. And this from a company that planned on blowing us away. According to Tim Ellis, marketing VP at VW of America, “People are waiting for the car and the advertising,” Mr. Ellis said. “We don’t intend to disappoint them with typical car advertising. It will be iconic, proud, daring and above all, fun.”

This ad is not a great start, I have to say. Why weren’t we wowed with an ad that knocked us off our chairs. Give us an Apple McIntosh 1984 memorable commercial. Give us something other than warmed over ads and make sure it makes us either laugh, have a water cooler moment like the Darth Vader Passat ad, or make sure every corner of the Web, magazines, blogs and TV are plastered with cool ads.

Make me proud, VW. Make me want the Beetle. The looks are a great start, and I am the target market (+/- 10 years) who adores fun cars. So make me want it with great ads.

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