The new member of a faithful, fun family
THE best advertising really does have the power to change lives. Many, many years ago, it was some powerful TV commercials which changed my life and that of family Seery.
At the time I was living in Namibia and driving a piece-of-junk Opel Kadett and wistfully wondering what it would be like to have a quality, reliable car. When my car allowance was increased slightly, I started thinking.
Then I saw a number of wonderful Volkswagen ads, which have gone on to become South African marketing classics. They touched a place deep within me, because they were all about family. At that time, all I wanted to be was part of a normal automotive family and not saddled with Frankenstein von Opel.
One of the ads was the “Vee Double You and Me, we’re all part of the Volkswagen family”, which featured workers on the line putting together Jettas and Golfs.
The other was the famous “VW Badge” event, where hundreds of Vee Dubs gathered to form a massive circle and the Volkswagen emblem. In that one, there were plenty of happy family shots: grannies and granddads, kids with puppies, couples in love… I want to be part of that family, I thought. And, within a few months, I was, having bought a brand new VW Jetta, in the special “Wolfsburg Edition” spec, meaning it had some of the looks of the iconic Golf GTi but didn’t cost as much.
It was a car which was family transport, but looked good enough for me to feel proud to be seen in.
That car stayed with us for 26 years, fulfilling every VW promise those ads made. It took us, as a family, all over Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
So I was intrigued to get an early look at the ad for VW’s new Tiguan SUV, which began flighting last weekend.
I have driven the Tiguan, which is totally unlike its predecessor in that it has sex appeal way beyond that of the previous model’s “mom’s taxi” appearance. I noticed I got quite a few stares from young people – male and female – when I was driving it.
The ad taps right into that insight that this car is for the family, but it is more than that. It is something you can feel cool, young and energetic in. You can forget it is a family car.
To show that, we see a young family driving along, mum and dad in the front and their daughter in the back. Clearly, the parents are enjoying themselves so much in the Tiguan that they forget the back-seat passenger.
It’s a bit cruel, but any parent will see it and smile: mum and dad chuckle about the goldfish – Number 7 in line – and that they will fool their daughter into thinking it is the same one (presumably the other one died). The girl’s look of horror says it all.
Then the parents have a chuckle over what their daughter has produced at school: what is that, any way? More cross looks from the back.
The last straw is when the parents, like the young and in love couple they were, buy ice creams… for themselves. Then they realise they do have someone in the back seat as they look around sheepishly.
The rolled-eye look and grumpy face they see in return is something all parents have seen… and children from an early age do it so well: why did you give me two idiots for parents?
The point, though, is that the Tiguan is such fun you’ll forget it is a family car. That’s the punchline and it makes the marketing point neatly: this is a best of all worlds choice.
I also like it because it continues in the vein of VW getting back to its roots in marketing, the Volkswagen Family. There was more than a bit of arrogance in years past with the Das Auto line, which has now, thankfully, all but disappeared.
The brand is about relationships, some of them life-long. And that comes across clearly in this ad.
So Orchids to VW and to Ogilvy, the agency which has produced so many of the great local VW ads.
We all know Joburg is a “World Class African City” – ha ha ha – and that slogan is often used ironically, especially when the traffic lights don’t work or your car ploughs into a pothole.
At face value, that slogan speaks of pride: we are Joburg, we are South African, we are African in all the good ways.
So, why, oh why, does Telkom and 94.7 radio station have to use foreign accents in their advertising for the upcoming 94.7 Cycle Challenge?
The same shallow half- Cockney accents which irritated me beyond belief in the Emperors Palace radio ads are back – and they’re even worse this time around.
This is our “sit-teeeee” is the one phrase which grates with me.
What is wrong with us? Are we not proud of who we are? What is wrong with a local accent? Why do we think foreign is better? You can’t be world class if you don’t have self-respect. Onions all round for everyone involved in this dreck ad…