Hippies Long For the Sixties, Get Slapped Upside the Head by VW


In this commercial for the Volkswagen Routan mini-van, you can identify with the pain these hippies feel as if you lived your life right alongside theirs in the heady days of the sixties. Reminiscing by looking at old pictures and movies, they long for the days when things were simpler. Or at least more fun and there was a purpose to their lives. When they fought for causes. When they changed the world. And...when they drove the VS Bus.

Even if you weren't alive circa 1969, you may not understand the deeply iconic status the VW Bus has achieved. It's this tie to the past and the nod to the vehicle's importance in the era that makes this commercial work...and fail at the same time. It works because, if you are familiar with the sixties era, the overwrought emotion displayed in the commercial makes perfect sense. If you're not, the people in this commercial are just a bunch of strange old farts living together as if they were some sort of anachronistic commune.

The choice of music, Let's Live For Today by the Grass Roots, is perfect. It mixes well with the notion this spot puts forth; memories are important but time goes on. If you don't move with it, you'll...end up a sad old person on a porch wishing it was still the sixties. Or something like that.

by Steve Hall    Oct-24-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Good   

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It never ceases to amaze me that they are spending so much money to distract us from the fact that the Routan is a re-skinned Chrysler Town & Country. As a lifelong VW fan I am still stunned by this. I know it was a cost savings initiative and the plan was put in place while Daimler was still in control, but that doesn't change the brand perception/burden that Chrysler carries.

Posted by: Marc Girolimetti on October 24, 2008 11:23 AM

Portraying a particular generation as old, now-useless hippies is bad enough, but if the ad was aimed at some modern equivalent, the "new hippie" so to speak, it would at least make some kind of sense. A very mean kind of sense, but a kind of sense. But who is the actual target audience? Apparently young mothers. What is the connection? What is the point? Aside from making a tenuous link to the VW van's history there is no point. If they wanted to promote the tradition of the VW van they could have done so far more effectively (and far less insultingly) by showing a montage of VW vans through the years being driven by everyone from hippies to returning Vietnam war vets and so on. A nice spot, it could have been.

I don't think I've seen an ad quite so insulting to the Boomers (who, by now, are pretty used to being the butt of every possible commercial insult anyway) and with such a confusing payoff.

Christopher Simpson/Holman Tibbett
Ad Nauseam

Posted by: Christopher Simpson on November 20, 2008 11:24 PM

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