Monday, November 20, 2006

Always crashing in the same car

I might be stating the obvious here, but those Volkswagen commercials suck. You know the ones: people are driving along in their Volks, happily talking away to their friends, only to be blindsided by some a-hole who either pulled out in front of them or just barreled on into them like they had no brakes and were blindfolded.

They even have a commercial where two women are discussing the commercial. One says, “I think they went too far,” right before they too get hammered by an oncoming truck. They’re ok of course.

The commercials are supposed to show how accidents happen when you least suspect them and that by driving a VW, you stand a pretty good chance of surviving. That’s all in good but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that these ads will negatively effect sales of VW.

Yes, they are shocking when you see it for the first time and yes, you do remember them. That’s all a company could ask for when someone comes up with a commercial for them I guess. But in this case, I think they’ve backfired.

They didn’t “go too far” as the one woman suggests in the ad. Going too far would have been to show the driver of the other car (an American made crap-mobile) being carried off all bloody with an EMT furiously pummeling his chest. THAT would have been “too far.” I will give the creators of this ad credit though; making a reference to your own ad in another ad is pretty smart. You know somebody just had this conversation with their spouse or friend the other day and when those dullards saw the ad they felt an immediate bond with VW and probably went out and bought one.

“I was just talking to Sally about those commercials and a guy almost hit me pulling out of his parking spot at King Soopers!”



As I said, I do believe the ads get your attention, but I think in a negative way. Every time I see one of these commercials I’m constantly reminded of getting into a car accident. I’ve been in a couple gnarly car wrecks and I don’t ever, ever, ever, ever want to be reminded of those experiences.

In kind of the same way you get so stressed out in stop and go traffic, these ads don’t do what they set out to do. In stop and go traffic you’re constantly hitting your brakes and seeing red lights flash in front of you. You are in effect, narrowly avoiding dozens of mini accidents during your commute. This doesn’t give you a feeling of safety to know you avoided an accident; it really just makes you more on edge. The ad doesn’t instill a feeling of safety, it just tells you that you could be next.

The VW people want you to think you’ll be safe in an accident while driving their car. That might even be an accurate assessment, but who wants to even think about it? I know car accidents happen and sometimes they are completely unavoidable, but if I spent my life thinking about getting involved in one, I’d go nuts. I think it’s very unwise for a car company to show their vehicles involved in accidents…even if the occupants come out unscathed because deep down, the horrible sensation of being in a wreck is far stronger than consumer’s need to buy a car that’s safe. This ad works against them because while selling a safe car they still plant the seed in the driver’s head that he/she will ultimately end up in an accident….and it might not come out as nicely as it does in the ad.

I’m sure this works the opposite on some people. Some jerk sees this and thinks “I’m invincible if I drive that thing.” I mean, the commercial even kind of supports this. The crashes they get in are far more violent and jolting then the subsequent damage and condition of the people would tell you. Somebody’s going to buy one of these, get out on the road, talk on the phone, not signal, run red lights and….oh, I guess they do that anyway.

VW has made a commercial that people will talk about, but I don’t believe it will sell any cars for them. It would be like an Army recruiting commercial showing you dead soldiers because that too is a reality of serving your country. We all know that’s a possibility and they’d be nuts to use that as an advertising tool. I think the commercials that show cars narrowly avoiding an accident are far more effective because it gives the driver hope that they can avoid it while knowing that if they do happen to get in an accident, the odds are in their favor.

If you’re lucky, you’ll never get in a car accident. But it happens and hopefully you can walk away from it without any major injuries. In the meantime, I don’t want to be reminded of something as unpleasant as a car wreck. The way people drive, I get enough of that on the road every day. More hip tunes VW, and less twisted metal bum trips.

JR

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

VW should make a commercial with somebody talking on a cell phone while trying to light a joint while steering with their knees who gets pasted by one of them big delivery trucks from Coors and they all die in a firey inferno. Hell, I'd run out and get me a VW, a sixer of silver bullets, a Verizon cell phone and a Bic lighter!

Fred K. Tapeball III said...

I guess it's better showing their cars getting plastered than to show them falling apart like the overrated junk that they are. Their initialy quality ratings are down at or below where american brands are. I guess it really is "Fuckenbroken"

Anonymous said...

I agree. We were in an accident, that to this day, I feel was staged. When my wife sees those VW ads she cries because she has to relive the trauma of the accident. I've had it with VW's BS. I'll never get another VW as long as I live.