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April 17th, 2006

Jarring VW Commercial

Last week I started seeing a pair of Volkswagen commercials that really jarred me. They start off with people in the car discussing some inane topic, which makes it seem like any other stupid car commercial. Then, out of nowhere, there’s a huge crash and the car is hit in the side by a larger vehicle.

Cut to a few minutes later, everybody’s out of the car, crying and shaken up, but OK.

I guess the commercial’s supposed to show you how save the VW is. Whether it really achieves that, I don’t really think so, but it certain does make you pay attention. The cuts are just right, where you catch a glimpse of the oncoming SUV just a split second before impact. There’s even a quick flash from inside the car of the people’s bodies reacting to the crash. It’s effective in that sense.

But I couldn’t help coming away from the commercial feeling like, “Gee… a bit much?” And they will certainly lose their effectiveness with repeated viewings. Yet, here I am, talking about them.

Anyone else catch these jarring ads yet? What was your reaction?

Posted in Consumer Commentary

FROM: jk
DATE: Monday April 17, 2006 -- 9:49:50 am
Hey that's my car! That certainly is an attention-getting commercial and I'm glad to know how safe the car is.

Contrast that to the commercial for the new GTI in which they un-pimp cars.

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday April 17, 2006 -- 10:18:32 am
In a way, it was unexpected. Even though the sudden car crash is a trick that a couple of TV shows exploited this season (Alias, Reunion, etc), I didn't expect it in a commercial. The only thing I thought was "Hey, the driver was in the movie Drumline"...then BOOM. Definitely got me the first time or two.

I'm sure in three months, it'll be a bit passe. For now, though, it has us talking about VW's on a Monday morning. Mission Accomplished.

FROM: jk
DATE: Monday April 17, 2006 -- 6:17:15 pm
Watch out: there's another version that I just saw tonight.

FROM: john
DATE: Friday April 21, 2006 -- 11:01:04 am
Yea, really fooled me, but then you notice that they were not wearing their seatbelts. Look closely.

FROM: hl
DATE: Wednesday April 26, 2006 -- 2:19:01 am
its total bullsh***. some ad firm thinks they are cute. i dont need that kind of reality sent rushing through my living room just to pimp a car.

FROM: Marie
DATE: Thursday April 27, 2006 -- 12:38:11 pm
I was involved in a bad car accident, that left me partially disabled (bad) for several years, and I'm STILL trying to get over the post traumatic stress disorder that it left me with.

Being that our accident was a "TBone" as in the commerical.. I really, REALLY hate the commercials. I avoid movies that I know have car wrecks in them, because I don't enjoy the flashbacks, nightmares, blackouts, and everything else. That's a WHOLE lot easier to avoid with MOVIES, than with a commercial.

FROM: John
DATE: Sunday April 30, 2006 -- 10:48:12 pm
While I haven't been in a car accident that involved needing air bags (I have been T-boned and sent off the road though), I am somewhat concerned by the commercials. It's nice the Volkswagen is trying to show how safe their cars are, but how safe are their cars' drivers. In both versions that I've seen the drivers seem to be paying more attention to their passengers than the road. What message is that sending out? "You don't have to worry about paying attention on the road because you'll be safe in our car should you be nailed due to inattention." A message I don't like, especially since I am a cyclist and I even bike commute to work at times. I want to see that drivers are being encouraged to pay attention not encouraged to buy a rolling cage that will keep those WITHIN safe.

Jammin October 4, 2006, 4:42 pm

yea… saw these commercials… very disturbing… I don’t think they will help VW improve sales… their ad campaigns have been lacking this past year… they need to go back to their roots…

nice blog though.

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