The new mem­ber of a faith­ful, fun fam­ily

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - MEDIA& MARKETING -

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…

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