Will a bat, an owl and a wolf sell Volkswagens?


I’m really not super impressed with these German ads for Volkswagen. I just have a hunch they won’t go far in selling cars.

The copy (in English) reads:

“Daylight vision. The Bi-Xenon headlights from Volkswagen.”

The Upside:
The good thing about these ads is that they certainly grab attention. They don’t blend in with other ads that surround them. You’re sure to take a second look and ask yourself, “What on earth is this ad selling?” So that’s a plus.

The Downside:
Unfortunately, these ads don’t leverage the attention they’ve gained. I.e., once they have our attention, they don’t explain how the product benefits us.

For an ad to truly convince me to think about buying a car because of its superior headlights, that ad would have to explain how I’d be better off with these headlights. (Duh.)

These ads don’t explain why I’d want “Daylight vision” from my headlights. All they do is raise more questions. Especially, “Wait…I can already see in the daylight, right? So why do I need Daylight Vision?”

And if the purpose of these headlights is to enable other cars to see you better in the daylight, why choose these three animals for this campaign? None of them (except maybe the owl) are specifically known for seeing extremely well in the daylight. Nor are they seen extremely well in the daylight. Plus, bats don’t use vision — even in the dark. They use sonar. So why use these animals in this ad?

An easy fix would be to:

(1) Use an eagle for the ad (since eagles are well known for seeing very far in the daylight),


(2) Clearly demonstrate the benefit of the product. The best advertising can be understood even by a 6th grader. Marketers and advertisers need to be champions of clarity and simplicity.

Actually, to be truly effective, this campaign should have skipped the animals altogether. It should have simply showed a car in the distance that can easily be seen in the daylight (if that’s the benefit). Why replace pictures of your product with animals that have absolutely nothing to do with what you’re trying to sell?

Ads like this might win awards for beautiful design work, but they don’t go far in selling the product.


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