Thursday, 24 May 2012

VW Polo Dad Ad; Three Things You Should Learn From This.

I think we can all agree that this is a pretty powerful ad.

The beautiful cinematography, emotional script, heartbreaking acting and evocative song choice aside...  the strategy ain’t half bad either. Pull at Dad’s heartstrings with a montage of all the seminal moments he will have with his daughter, whilst reminding him that when inevitably the time comes to let her go (drive) out into the world, a Polo will keep her as safe as he did.

Stay in safe hands is a resonant piece of emotional blackmail.
So what else can we learn from this ad? I think there are 3 big lessons here.

1.       Emotion 1  - 0 Reason
     What is this Polo above all else? SAFE. And why is it so safe? I have no idea and unless you are a mechanic neither do you, because they never said why, we just felt it.

2.       Don’t go selling the whole farm straight away.
What is the one thing we definitely know about this car? It's  SAFEThere are probably a million other great things that you could also say about this Polo like it's great value for money, good for the environment or cheap to run. All of these things are appealing to people BUT;

A)     Goal dilution – A fancy way of saying the more you say you can do the less people will believe you can do it well. Jack of all trades master of none.
B)      Tell me one thing and I’ll definitely remember it in a week, tell me five and I probably won’t remember any of it.

We all see this ad as a stand out piece of creative work, but come to think of it I think I’ve seen it before somewhere...

Ps. targeting the ‘first car’ market is a very smart move too.


  1. Hi Lucian – this is a good read and good points you note.

    It’s an interesting observation regards point number three. Obviously the first thing which comes to mind is the John Lewis ad (or perhaps even the Google+ one). But items of nostalgia aside, as Picasso (apparently) uttered 'good artists borrow, great artists steal', and I think in this instance DDB have done that, but applied a greater sense of purpose – It’s less visceral. The P&G one was quite abstract, as was the John Lewis one - they are there to evoke a feeling and 'remind' the consumer; this one, I think, has a far greater focus on the 'sell' of the product.

    I don't know if we are going into another baby boomer generation, but the first car market has clearly been outlined as one worth targeting specifically!

    1. Hi Dan,

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

      Interesting point about the VW ad having a greater focus on the sell, I totally agree that there is a more immediate call to action here which I think makes the ad even more powerful.

      In terms of the baby boom question, a quick bit of googling has thrown up some evidence that we are in fact experiencing one - - which I am sure VW are intentionally exploiting.

      Further to this I think the first car market remains a strategically smart one to target regardless of population fluctuations. Capturing consumers right at the start of their involvement with your category is a powerful strategy. After all people remember their first car in the same way they remember their first kiss!