The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Achtung! Achtung! VW Becomes [Sort-Of] Unreliable!
November 1, 2007, 8:00 am
Filed under: Crap Campaigns In History

Volkswagen used to make great ads.

Actually, Volkswagen made some of the greatest ads in adlands history.

I’m sure that if I say LEMON or SNOW PLOUGH you’ll probably know exactly what I’m talking about – even if you weren’t born when they were out.

OK … so there’s still some good stuff being produced for the German car giant [take a bow Colin and Pete] however in some markets, the mighty haven’t just fallen, they’ve gone into cardiac arrest!!

Have a look at this monstrosity from [I think] DDB Australia …

I hate ads like this.

Abso-fucking-lutey HATE THEM!

And the thing is, despite DDB now resembling some washed-up, alcoholic pop star from the 1960’s … they still know VW better than most, so the only explanation for this abortionis that some some sniveling, little, wanna-be-man-around-town, marketing fuckwit pushed them into it because he/she thought it made the brand look more aspirational.

Aspirational … now that’s another thing I fucking hate.

It’s a word advertising has mugged … like revolution, empowered and fun … but that’s a rant for another day.

To be honest, I can just about handle the ‘looks can be deceptive’ idea.

Sure it’s been done to death [best expressed by Sekonda with their “Beware of Expensive Imitations” line] but given there’s a general perception that well spec’d, German built cars cost a bloody fortune, it sort-of makes sense.

However what DOESN’T compute is that rather than position the Jetta as ‘The Smart Persons Car’ [like Arnold Worldwide did with their ‘People Will Get The Wrong Impression Of You’ campaign from a few years back] DDB Sydney have gone with an execution that is so contrived it seems to suggest Jetta is either the car for the ‘image obsessed, cheap wanker’ or the ‘social climber with no class*]

Now excuse me if I’m wrong, but I was always under the impression advertising was supposed to ATTRACT interest … and while Sydney is fast becoming like LA, even the most coked-out, Bondi-living, Oxford-street-frequenting dunderhead wouldn’t want to be labeled either of those things.

You used to be able to always rely on VW ad’s … they had a certain style, class and wry humour about them … however just like my old Golf GTI which needed THREE new engines, gearboxes and turbo’s in just THREE YEARS [and the car was bought from new], it seems reliability and VW are no longer on speaking terms.

Well, as long as it communication is handled by DDB Sydney.

Thank God there’s still some of Bernbach’s agencies that keep his VW reputation intact …

Taking all this into account, I think if I was incharge of the global VW brand, I’d be looking to perform a major service on my Australian team immediately!

[* Any similarity to Andy is purely coincidental!]

 PS: If DDB Sydney did NOT do this campaign, then I wholeheartedly apologise and hope, for both your sakes, you become best friends again!!

20 Comments so far
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as i was retching into my coffee yesterday, after seeing a 12-bill of these ‘abortions’, i was wondering when they were going to get a guernsey in the rob campbell hall of shame. thank god you hate them too!

perhaps this is a case of good advertising biting you on the arse – you make great work, the company starts to believe its own bullshit, stops trying to actually BE the best and so begins the downward spiral until the last gasp: two for the price of one.

Comment by lauren

DDB London (aka BMP) have produced so many good VW ads over the years it’s hard to find a favourite.

Creatively its probably ‘bollocks’:


Comment by Rob Mortimer

watch out world, the bitch is back.

Comment by andy@cynic

“yes man syndrome” has caused fucking loads of people to turn from great to shit but when a bunch of hangers-on tell them even the way they crap is world standard, theyre bound to start believing the bolloacks which ultimately makes them lazy and immune from criticism or collaberation.
of course im not like that, i “know” i am brilliant but to be on the safe side, it seems george and rob have adopted the practice of “no man syndrome” where every fucking thing i do is open to debate, criticism and improvement.
planning fuckers. 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

The bitch is back? THE BITCH IS BACK?

Thanks mate, that means a lot …

In all seriousness, your comment about YES MAN syndrome is very accurate … believing your own shit does create an impenatrable ego which ultimately leads to decline.

It’s like that thing we call “Jim Carey” syndrome – where someone achieves incredible success in a particular field but so craves the acceptance and attention of their industry peers that they embark on anything they think will achieve that goal … despite the fact [1] they’re not capable of performing at that level and [2] they undermine all the great work they’ve done previously because people can tell this is about fulfilling an ego rather than a desire to experiment.

Arrogance and ego are a couple of the key offenders in destroying a business and while you have the potential to put the combined ego of Oprah, Mohammed-Ali and George Bush to shame, we like you which is why we continually tell you to stop acting like a complete cock.

See, it’s an act of love. Honest.

Cough Cough.


Comment by Rob

Jim Carey syndrome, that’s superb, haven’t heard that one before.

Man you really do hate Sydney don’t you… 🙂

Comment by Angus

We didn’t do it.

Comment by DDB Sydney


Comment by DDB Sydney

The London stuff is still strong. The Jetta stuff was all about 80’s revivals, and I loved the way they made the Bora for people resisting mid-life crisis.
Australians eh?

Comment by NP

It looks like a dealership ad to me.


Comment by The Kaiser

Nah, where are the starbursts?

Comment by NP

Angus, I LOVE Sydney – I call the place home, have a mass of friends there and will end up living there again in the next few years.

What I hate is this Aussie character of believing it is absolutely the best in the World and not welcoming or inviting any alternate view incase it bursts their little bubble of delusion.

Australia isn’t the only place like that act this way – but it’s one of the worst offenders – and it’s especially sad because the country and people are so bloody great.

Hell, I married one so they must be doing something right [or wrong, as the case may be]

Oh and before I forget, you can get email on SE phones … so don’t buy a fucking Palm Treo unless you want to look like a Nigel No Mates. Tell me the phone you’re interested in and I’ll tell you how to get Blackberry type functionality – alternatively, go to and you can download some free software yourself.

Finally … if you like our ‘Jim Carey’ phrase, wait till I write about our new one: The Corporate Amoeba … more next week. Maybe.

PS: NP … I know you live oop North in England and probably would prefer the sun of Sydney, but claiming to be DDB Sydney is not going to help you.

Comment by Rob

Why mention expensive at all? You don’t decide whether your product is expensive – my bank manager does. You don’t decide whether your product looks expensive, my style guru does.
Moreover, if you’re competing on price then it suggests to me, you’ve got nothing else that you care about. And why fill the text with a discussion of safety features?

Incidentally – in similar veing – Stella are dropping “reassuringly expensive” and not before time in my opinion.

Comment by John

Not that I have a style guru. Obviously!

Comment by John

The expensive idea works well for DDB London as they keep it fresh and interesting; without that skill and creativity though it would get stale fast.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I still love that many clients don’t grasp that VALUE FOR MONEY is from a consumers perspective, not the corporation.

It’s like payrises … what the employee believes is just never tends to match the employers evaluation, ha!

[No Billy … that is not an invitation to start]

Comment by Rob

Best client I ever had. Tough as hell and one of a kind. Joe Barbera of VW Asia. Knew his ads too.

Comment by Charles Frith

Apparently getting a Palm Treo was the only way to get email. Fucking outrageous I know.

Comment by Angus

Oh, and yeah, I feel the same way about the UK sometimes.

Comment by Angus

Well Charles, you should go and get a job at DDB Sydney and pull them back into shape – unless, of course, you LIKE this ad 🙂

Comment by Rob

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