Ad Spotting: VW Gets Serious About Pushing Diesel

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.

Share This Photo X