• May 19, 2011
Volkswagen Jetta TDI "Can I Drive" – Click above to watch the video after the break

Company: Volkswagen of America

Medium: TV

Ad Agency: Deutsch/LA

Product: 2011 Jetta TDI

Campaign: "Can I Drive"

What We Like: That VW is putting some money behind marketing its clean diesel models. VW's sister company, Audi, has long been pushing its diesel offerings, while VW seemed to be mostly letting its enthusiast audience do word-of-mouth for the TDI line. The focus of this ad is on the fuel economy, 42 mpg on highway, which is simple, told through a brief story about a teenager who wants to take his turn driving.

What We Don't Like: Not much at all. We see the data point on 42 mpg, which is an eye-catcher. But maybe ad agency Deutsch could have dialed in an extra graphic or data point that shows how far one can drive on a full tank.

Strategy: Clean diesel is much misunderstood by the general consuming public, as well as 99 out of 100 legislators who, it seems, would rather be caught in a New Orleans hotel room with an escort than photographed promoting diesel cars. Hybrids, electrics and even hydrogen cars we will never drive? Members of Congress flock to those photo ops faster than they do a Wall Street hedge fund manager with his checkbook open. But diesel, their campaign managers, tell them doesn't sell. To hell with them. TDI vehicles rock, and get much better mpg than a Camry Hybrid.

This ad is squeaky clean and is as sparkly and wholesome as a hybrid ad. The 42-mpg figure is meant to get TV viewers to search on the car when they see it on TV. There, they will see several links to VW-created content before they get to a Car and Driver review of the car. They'll have to go a lot further into Google to find carping from anti-diesel bloggers or belly-aching from the uninformed who think if they gave a diesel car they will find themselves stranded in the middle of Idaho with no way to fuel up. Good job on the search-engine-optimization VW!

Grade: A -

Watch the commercial after the jump and give it your own grade below.





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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 63 Comments
      fastalan
      • 3 Years Ago
      TDI is still a hard sell for VW in the US, most of the benefits of a high toruqe high fuel efficient diesel engine aren't well understood by the general car buyers in the US unless they've driven truck for work or have owned previous turbo diesel passenger cars. For example, while this VW ad has touched on the fuel efficiency aspect of the TDI engine, it failed to address the one significant strength of a turbo diesel engine, low end torque. This is a hard one becuase VW's DSG does not work well with towing and most car buyers in the US do not know how to drive a stick. Most car owners simply don't tow anything anyway, how many of you know how to back up with a trailer? VW may want to come up with an ad scenario where they would point out the torque aspect of the TDI enigne, maybe family stuffing their car with lugguages for a vacation while dad drive away the Jetta with a boat or a snowmobile at the back. Most people buying Cruze, Elantra, Focus, Fiesta, they're just too poor to afford vacation anyway, let along buying expensive off road toys, all they want are cars with very low MSPR that use the lowest priced RUG. VW should not try to ad compete the TDI with these cheap gas economy car, you are not going to win. A Jetta or Golf or Passat TDI has way more torque from its powerplant and that abundance of dynamic power reserve is what VW should focus when selling their diesels.
      madbikes
      • 3 Years Ago
      Jeremy Clarkson and James May would be genius if they came up with this back when they were trying make a Scirocco TDI ad
      WillieD
      • 3 Years Ago
      If only that kid didn't look like such a fag.
        jamboree5090
        • 3 Years Ago
        @WillieD
        My thoughts exactly, and his little smug fag dad. If my dad drove a Jetta around acting like he's the ****, i'd broad side him my bros Hummer.
        Andre Neves
        • 3 Years Ago
        @WillieD
        And THIS is what AB has come to.
        Andre Neves
        • 3 Years Ago
        @WillieD
        Oh and one more thing. AB, can we please get a "report" button added in to alert garbage like this for removal?
          Brex
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Andre Neves
          Just hover your pointer and there it is. I reported these bashers.
      Tweaker
      • 3 Years Ago
      Do you insist on lining the pockets of Chavez, Ahmadinijad, Putin and the House of Saud? Do you enjoy the sight of dead US soldiers coming home draped with flags? If so, push that dirty diesel and push aside those clean electric and hydrogen technologies! Go diesel!
        Samurai Jack
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tweaker
        So, are you signing up to build a coal fired power plant or a nuclear power plant in your community? Usable electricity doesn't just come from thin air...
          Samurai Jack
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Samurai Jack
          @Hazdaz... can you get enough energy from those sources to support the tens of millions of cars on the road in the US, in addition to the industrial and domestic needs for electricity? Heck, some states have rolling blackouts now during some parts of the year. Leaving aside the fact that not every area can support those three types of renewable energy. I live in an area that's almost completely supported by hydroelectric power. But something tells me that won't work so well in Kansas. And while wind power will help there it still wouldn't be enough. Adding millions of electric cars will make that much clearer to everyone. By all means, build renewable energy plants. But increasing the demand for electricity without a commensurate increase in supply is a recipe for disaster. And for the foreseeable future the only way to make a large increase is through fossil fuels and nuclear power.
          Tweaker
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Samurai Jack
          I have no problem with nuclear and even running electric cars off the oldest, dirtiest coal plant is still cleaner and more efficient than the cleanest diesel. Anyway, I get most of my power from natural gas plants a few miles away. Nobody knows they are there.
          Hazdaz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Samurai Jack
          Usable electricity also doesn't NEED to come from dirty coal power plants either. Electricity can come from a myriad of sources including renewable hydro, solar and wind.
        KaiserWilhelm
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tweaker
        You seem confused...
      dystroglycan
      • 3 Years Ago
      they edited out the tractor sound
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      This deserves the pointless engine of year award. The cruze, elantra, focus, fiesta, 2012 mazda 3 all get 40mpg on regular unleaded. Way to FAIL vw.
        creamwobbly
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        Looks good on paper, doesn't it? Problem is, that's *all* they get. Take them off the dealer's lot and you'll do much worse. The TDIs, on the other hand, get much *better* than the government figures suggest. Plus, the TDI is a top-of-the-line model. The Cruze, Elantra, Focus, Fiesta, and 3 are all base models with insipid little rubber bands.
          tantareanujellob
          • 3 Years Ago
          @creamwobbly
          Yeah thats some solid BS right there. All cars can beat their EPA numbers by the same margin given the right driving techniques. The truth is, if you want to do 40mpg consistently you need a hybrid. There is no way around it. This diesel BS needs to die a quick death
          srmcg
          • 3 Years Ago
          @creamwobbly
          Also the main point with diesel cars is the great low end torque. Much better and more fun cars to drive
        mathiaswegner
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        But they get 40mpg with no power. The Cruze is getting 148 lb/ft of torque in 40mpg trim. The Elantra is getting 131. The Fiesta has 112 and the Focus is 146. The TDI is getting 236. 236! And that torque peak starts at 1750rpm. Plus you can run a diesel on practically anything. Biodiesel is much easier to make than biopetrol, and WVO is even easier. Try running a Cruze on used fryer oil.
      emperorkoku
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't know why this blog is so hellbent on selling diesel; Popular Mechanics did a real world comparo and only got 2mpg (5%) better mileage in the Jetta TDI than the new Focus. And did you know diesel emits 15% more CO2 per gallon than gasoline and costs more? No thank you. Diesel engines suck for a driving enthusiast, and they're no more cost effective or environmentally friendly. Pass.
        creamwobbly
        • 3 Years Ago
        @emperorkoku
        That's why god gave us biodiesel: carbon neutral, thank you very much.
        CJ_S4
        • 3 Years Ago
        @emperorkoku
        Anyone who says a modern diesel sucks to drive obviously hasn't driven anything with a plateau shaped torque curve...
          Gubbins
          • 3 Years Ago
          @CJ_S4
          Absolutely right CJ--having driven a previous generation Jetta TDi up long mountain grades I can say that the torque is wonderful, the driving range a revelation. I feel the small fuel cost tradeoff is well worth the drive characteristics and long-term durability. PLUS...no matter the situation with gasoline, diesel fuel will always be available or the country would starve as the truck fleets that are our lifeline ground to a halt. The current national avg price for ULSD diesel fuel is a little over 4% more than gasoline--a minimal tradeoff for 25% better fuel economy and superior driveability. As to Koku's handwringing over CO emissions, that's all junk science anyway--
        sp33dklz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @emperorkoku
        You sir / ma'am.... are extremely uninformed. Unless you've driven any diesels lately that are "performance" minded.
      Tweaker
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's good those Germans can push the oil technology, they don't have to pay to protect the world's oil supply.
      i-b
      • 3 Years Ago
      Gee, I own a 2010 Camry Hybrid. It's roomy, comfy and QUIET. Perfect for the frequent trips I make to LA and back (to San Diego). Oh, and I get 45 MPG on those trips - to LA and back. Takes about a quarter of a tank. Of regular. Over 20K and no maintenance costs (free 2-year maint. program with purchase). TDI seems like a nice vehicle, but factor in diesel fuel cost & availability, and the Camry seems like a better deal for the money.
        montoym
        • 3 Years Ago
        @i-b
        Well, you are way off the charts with your mileage on the Camry. The EPA rates it at 34mpg hwy. Congrats on the hypermiling. So, to make a fair comparison, I figure you could hypermile a Jetta TDI just as well. You are achieving 32% better mileage than the EPA figures on your Camry. So, a 32% increase over the Jetta's 42mpg EPA hwy figure would net you 55mpg. BTW, VW also offers free maintenance for 3yrs. Not to mention the price difference. The Camry Hybrid starts at $27,050(2011) while the Jetta TDI starts at $22,995. Now for the caveat. The Jetta is a smaller car than the Camry I admit, but there is a TDI Passat on the way soon. We'll have to see how that one will compare. Otherwise though, it seems that your "seems" doesn't quite seem to hold up to the facts. Plus you had to use an overinflated mileage figure to even come close.
          i-b
          • 3 Years Ago
          @montoym
          Believe it or not, no hypermiling. Just cruise control set at 67 MPH. MPG's have steadily increased after the first 5,000 miles. I do hypermile around town with a combined city/highway result of around 38-39 MPG. My Camry stickered for about $33,500, but I got $5K knocked off in March/April 2010 (2011's were already appearing on dealers' lots). That includes leather, navi, bluetooth, and much more. This Camry is more like a luxo-barge than the TDI, which was just what I wanted for the SD-LA-SD trips I frequently make. Oh, during the first 5,000 miles or so, I was getting 34-35 MPG and that included frequent episodes of hypermiling. My 2007 Prius Touring was getting about 44 MPG with 24K miles on the same SD-LA-SD commutes, which was very disappointing. I had previously gotten much better mileage, including 53.5 MPG on a drive from Seattle to San Diego. With the poor quality ride of the Prius, I opted for the more comfy Camry. I suspect the Jetta would not have matched the comfort and quiet of the Camry.
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The turbo that gets 42mpg" So what VW accomplished here is they got the same fuel economy with a diesel that a Chevy Cruze can do burning 87 octane. WOW VW... WOW!
        Trace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        VW does need to up their game as they have not improved the efficiency in over 10 years. I've got a pair of TDI Beetles, one 1998 and 2006. The '98 gets a bit better mpg but I drive the heck out of them and have never seen less than 39MPG combined.
      SloopJohnB
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yes...TDI vehicles rock until their engines sludge up. Audi, for one, has a ways to go. I've seen too many TDI A3s torn down in the shop to buy one.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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