Making it happen since 1988

No future in nostalgia.

By Adam Reynolds on Feb 08, 2016

I remember when VW made the kind of ads people like me wanted to make when they grew up.

Then they got caught cheating. The resulting ‘long copy’ print ads were a poor attempt at apologising for fraud on a global scale. The letters they sent to customers were no better. See this excellent post by Matt Turner, from Writers Ltd, on the subject. Their new pan-European TV spot still does nothing to move things forward. If anything, it’s likely to pour fuel on their status as one of the planet’s most-hated brands (as ranked by tracking agency Sigwatch).

The ad tells the story of a man’s life, from childhood to becoming a parent himself, while driving around in various VWs. The message is clear; VW is your lifelong companion. Only, given everything that’s happened, it’s more like coming home one day to find your partner of 30 years is a secret cross-dressing, alcoholic love rat with a penchant for putting root vegetables where root vegetables should never be put.

Then there’s the music. It’s so bad it makes my teeth itch. Who keeps deciding that these dreary, middle of the road, value brand vanilla ice cream tunes will build brands and sell products? I’d like to tie them to a chair and force this music on them for eternity. Along with a selection of root vegetables.

Another point worth making here is that, for me, there’s no future in nostalgia. VW needs to face up to what it’s done and tell people what it’s doing to put things right. How they’ve changed, won’t go back to their old ways and deserve a second chance.

Their pre-crisis reputation was earned on the reliability that came from their build quality. So why peddle empty, saccharine tales of lifelong partnership when you’ve proven to be untrustworthy?

For a brand with a long journey ahead to redemption, they’ve just set off with a flat tyre and a broken tail-light.