The global network of advertising blogs is hot and/or bothered over a South African VW print ad for VW’s Golf R that encourages the reader to ingest said advertisement, its stock having been made of a product marginally more palatable than paper. Why? Not over the ad’s dubious cleverness—frankly, it leaves us with the same “Oh, neat. Next, please” sort of blasé-ness that most of Volkswagen’s ads have engendered since Crispin Porter + Bogusky took over the company’s American account back in 2005. While the ladtastic CP+B was deemed a bit too radical for the company’s newfound quest to sell 800,000 vehicles yearly in the U.S. by 2018 and was replaced by Deutsch LA in 2009, the smarmy sheen of effete brohesion has not been scrubbed entirely from Wolfsburg Castle.
Even the company’s lauded “The Force” spot from earlier this year, featuring a pint-sized Darth Vader, didn’t wear as well as we would’ve hoped—a peril of appealing to our inner children in the wake of Lucas’s Star Wars prequels.
So what, exactly, does this have to do with Ogilvy Cape Town’s new print ad for the German Automaker? On the surface, nothing, although we wouldn’t be shocked at all to see the same piece show up in an American magazine once the Golf R hits our shores later this year. Seriously, though, it’s just another cloying VW ad; why the ruckus? Because of the ad’s ingredient list: glutinous rice flour, water, salt, propylene glycol, FD&C color and glycerine. Folks are flipping their wigs over the addition of propylene glycol, which is used as a moisture-retaining agent in plenty of junk foods. We’d hardly call Ogilvy’s ad a healthy snack, but Lord knows we ingest plenty of said, similar, and worse ingredients every time we stop by our local processed-food emporium. Come to think of it, there’s a metaphor for VW’s advertising in there somewhere. Oh, if we could only find it.