Sunday, May 16, 2010

An open letter to Volkswagen

Dear Volkswagen,

I first noticed that "Punch Dub Days" had arrived back in March, and I quickly noted the ugliness of an ad campaign based on the "fun" experience of punching people in the arm. Well, I thought, at least "Punch Dub Days" won't last very long. And there have been worse sales pitches (though not many.)

But now we are three months in to watching people punch friends, neighbors, grandparents, children and innocent bystanders-- HARD-- each time using the excuse that one of your overrated automobiles- not ONE of which is an actual Volkswagen Bug- has just cruised by at a dangerous speed. And I can tell you that what was annoying in March has become downright nauseating in May.

Really, for how long do you intend to subject us to this viciousness? Do you really think it's funny or entertaining to watch grampa get socked in the nuts by his grandson as they wait for the light to change? To watch one passive-aggressive moron after another slam their fists into the person next to them, sometimes knocking them off-balance in the process? To watch a huffing and puffing pregnant woman take a moment away from measured breathing to listlessly slam her fist into her life partner's shoulder?

Do you realize that the actors in these commercials themselves seem thoroughly sick of this pitch? The punches are becoming heavier, more intentionally damaging, while the "Black Ones!' and "Red Ones!" are more and more formulaic and matter-of-fact. And the victims? They look ready to respond with a knife or a gun. And I can't say I blame them.

Can we please move on now? Violence is not funny. Your "Punch Dub Days" concept, harkening back to an earlier era of automotive travel in which Volkswagen made Bugs which looked different from all other cars on the road, was never a clever one. And now it's gone to seed. So please, spare us any further "let's watch people slam their fists into each other" commercials, ok? They aren't humorous, they don't make me want to buy one of your cars, and they don't leave me with a good opinion of your company. Quite frankly, they leave me angry and disgusted.

Please, let it go. We in the real world don't want to play your stupid, mean-spirited "game." And I for one am bored out of my mind watching cruelty played up as humor in your ads.



  1. Well, when one considers who helped design the original V-Dub, this sort of crap doesn't surprise me as such. I expect to see wanton violence when the Hiltermobile is being flogged.

  2. I hadn't thought of that- shouldn't a "Seig Heil!" be used rather than bashing someone in the arm when a Not-Bug comes rolling by?

    The violence makes much more sense now, thanks.

  3. What is up with the "punch" sound effect? It sounds like the grandpa has an encyclopedia in his pants.

    Whats next? VW will release a line of cars the run on Zyklon B?

  4. thepapers- clearly, Volkswagen borrowed the sound effects guy from Rocky III. I guess the theory is that it's only funny if it sounds painful. One of the recipients of the "fun" actually cries out "ouch!" just to let us know that yes, you really should punch hard enough to hurt.

    Nasty, vile crap.