Is a Car ad without cars kinda crazy?

Posted on Posted in Beloved Brands in the Market
An Ad from Volkswagen

While most Car Ads showcase their cars driving around some corner with the sun setting behind it, the new Volkswagen campaign shows 27 seconds of people laughing ranging from babies all the way up to seniors.  And no car.  

Only Volkswagen could attempt to pull this ad off. They have a history of doing quirky ads, dating back to the 50s. And looking at the Brand Love Index for Family Car brands, VW is the most loved of the brands, with 44% rating it as either Loved or Beloved. Toyota and Honda are just behind with 38% and 30%.  

For a Beloved Brand, Volkswagen should be to continue the magic in order to maintain the love for their brand. VW has a very loyal cult-like following. They already have awareness and people know the differences in their brand. As much as Steve Jobs professed “Think Different”, Volkswagen has 60 years of thinking differently.

Overall, the ad does a good job in attracting Attention in that 27 seconds of just laughing is sure to make you look at the TV screen. But, I’m not sure the Branding of linking VW to the idea of the laughing moments does a good enough job. I don’t think the cut to white screen show brand name really does much at all.  Looking closely, the ad is supposed to send you to as a potential combination of traditional and digital media. I think that Communication gets  totally lost in the ad. I’d love to see a 60 second version that could be used for viral sharing with friends, which could help with the Stickiness of the idea. The website is pretty good though–I like the story telling, especially in the voice of the consumer who can connect important moments of their life to the VW brand.  

An Ad from Honda

Here’s another TV ad that tries to play in the same space, but this time from Honda. One difference is that while it ties into life moments, it has the Car as the backbone of each of those little life moments.

The Honda ad does a good job at connecting with consumers. It might not draw as much Attention as the VW ad, but it will connect just as well eventually. But the Branding and Communications are so much stronger that not only will it continue to drive the connectivity between the consumer and the brand, it will also help to sell more cars. In terms of Stickiness, they also have a 90 second anthemic version that they used to kick off the campaign.  Here’s the link:

So while the VW ad makes me smile as it was intended to do, I don’t think this ad will be a big hit. I like the idea better than I like the execution. On the other hand, the Honda ad plays in the same space and it connects the idea of Life Moments nicely to the brand.  

I give the win to Honda, but want to hear your views:

I run Brand Leader Training programs on this very subject as well as a variety of others that are all designed to make better Brand Leaders.  Click on any of the topics below:

Positioning 2016.112

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