This is the new advertisement for the VW hybrid (yes, well done, but that’s something Toyota have been doing for twenty years, so let’s not get over-excited about the news value here).
We all love a good villain, but the question is this: are VW acknowledging that, after the emissions scandal, they are (or were) Public Enemy no.1 and playing a delightfully mischievous game around that? Or is it just a coincidence? I like to think it’s a wonderful piece of self-deprecation. And if that’s the case, I’ll forgive them for being so close to the idea Jaguar used recently.
I so wanted to like this launch ad for the new Jaguar XE, which competes with Mercedes C Class and BMW 3 Series. I enjoyed Jaguar’s previous effort, ‘it’s good to be bad’ in which we are told that Brits make the best villains by some fabulous British villains including Sir Ben Kingsley no less.
Sadly, this new ad just doesn’t do it. The villain is still there and he has a nice Bond-nemesis-type quality. But I have two gripes:
1) Call me old fashioned but a black big cat isn’t a jaguar, it’s a panther. And if you’re bringing the brand to life in the line ‘unleash the cat’ it just makes more sense if the cat you’re featuring throughout is actually a jaguar.
2) More importantly, the car looks bloody terrible. A year or so back Jaguar launched the F-Type with an ad that was memorable because it made you drool over the car’s looks. Admittedly, the F-Type is more attractive than the XE. But when did that ever matter?
When this appeared the US auto industry was in crisis and Chrysler was the sickest of all. It was forced to revamp its product line and its business.
This commercial was a defiant statement of bold intent – it broke the mould of clever, witty car ads, taking a full break in the Super Bowl with a celebration of the motor city itself. Creatively it turns perception on its head. Weakness is turned into strength. The gritty reality of Detroit is at the core of the brand and the US motor industry. It has rediscovered its essence. It has integrity. It is real.
The theme of light patriotism is a thread we see elsewhere too.
I could nit-pick. That choir is a bit iffy and the whole thing is a bit too polished, but this is fundamentally what advertising is all about. a big brand idea rooted in a brand truth.