Adwatch (Sept 21) - Top 20 recall: VW Golf Cabriolet goes deep

Volswagen Golf Cabriolet's latest ad
Volswagen Golf Cabriolet's latest ad

Insight about the relationship between car and driver taps into deeper themes.

Skip to table

This ad has been described as 'classic VW', meaning that here we have a lovely insight, executed with charm and craft. I agree.

The film cuts together scenes of people messing about in roofless vehicles, from go-carts to dodgems. We're asked 'Remember how the cars you had most fun in never had a roof?' and are shown the Golf Cabriolet in a (comparatively charmless) coastal road shot; then the (somewhat baffling) title 'The Golf among the cabriolets'.

I'm not a car person, but I like this ad. First, it left me smiling. At a time when we hear endless reports of motorists' misery, cars and smiling are rarely in the same sentence. And let's face it, if I were to entertain buying a car, especially a new one, in this financial climate, and a soft-top after the summer we've had, it would be because I believed it could make me happy.

Second, in the best tradition of VW ads, this observes the simple truth that cars need drivers and drivers are people. Rather than trying to sum up the model in a snappy line, there's an insight here about the relationship between car and driver that taps into deeper themes of childhood, freedom and fun.

Third, at a stretch it might leave me thinking the normal Golf was less boring than I had previously thought, thus haloing back on the main brand.

It's puzzling that so much car advertising lives in its own peculiar world, built out of winding, empty roads, with its own impenetrable language. This ad has a humanity often lacking in its category. There's definitely stuff to like here.

Nonetheless, how much is there to love? For all the craft, humanity and charm, I was left wanting more.

For me, it doesn't inspire a strong-enough response - desire, envy, surprise or intrigue - to overcome the daunting obstacles to purchase that the industry currently faces.

I'm also not convinced that it is arresting enough to make its mark in the Sky+, media-overloaded world of its target audience.

While the eternal principles of good communication will never go out of fashion (a genuinely revealing truth seems hard to come by these days), this ad feels like it was created for a world that is fading.

When you have found a way that works, it is hard to move it on; but there comes a time when 'classic' is not necessarily a good thing. To stay fresh and relevant, all the best traditions need to be reinvented and adapted to new circumstances.

I have a deep fondness and respect for VW advertising, but if there was a moment to start experimenting with the legacy, this is it.

Adwatch (September 21): Top 20 recall
Latest Sep-21 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 (–) Foster's Gold  Adam & Eve/MediaVest 48
2 (–) Microsoft Windows 7 

Crispin Porter & Bogusky/
Universal McCann

44
3 (–) WKD  Big Communications/
MediacCom
40
4= (–) Macmillan  Arthur/PHD 37
4= (–) IKEA  Mother/Vizeum 37
6 (–) Cheestrings  Fallon/Vizeum 35
7 (–) Uncle Ben's Rice Time  BBDO Düsseldorf/
ZenithOptimedia
34
8 -2 Morrisons  DLKW Lowe/MEC 30
9 (–) Dolmio Pasta Vita  Proximity London/
ZenithOptimedia
29
10 (–) Aldi  McCann Erickson Manchester/
Universal McCann Manchester
28
11 (–) McDonald's  Leo Burnett/OMD UK 26
12= (–) Jacamo  The Gate Films/Carat 25
12= (–) Hedrin  Bray Leino/Bray Leino 25
12= (–) Dreams  RKCR Y&R/Starcom 25
15= (10=) Tesco  The Red Brick Road/Initiative 24
15= (–) The Co-operative  TBWA\Manchester/
PHD Rocket
24
17 -13 WH Smith  DLKW Lowe/Carat 23
18= (–) Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet  DDB London/MediaCom 22
18= (–) Cillit Bang 

Euro RSCG London/
ZenithOptimedia

22
20 (–) Quorn Fish-less Fingers  Quorum/Initiative 21

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage