October 29, 2008

Brooke Shields: The Sally Struthers Of The Routan Generation

Uh, wow. I can understand how tough it must be to sell a rebranded Chrysler Town & Country minivan as an actual, German car. " But if I were in Volkswagen's marketing department, I probably would have gone the, "Technically, when we started this project, it was called DaimlerChrysler," route.


Instead, they went with the classic "'Won't you help?' infomercial parody, only instead of starving babies, the crisis is people having babies in order to justify buying a Routan-load of 'German engineering,' and it doesn't star Sally Struthers, but that other noted sitcom actress/humanitarian, Brooke Shields" route. Sorry, VW, but we've seen it all before.


They do get credit for the VW Routan Babymaker 3000, which automatically breeds two headshots to make a single, animated babyface. It's a marked improvement over the buggy Babymaker 2000. So thanks, VW. Your minivan's still a Chrysler, though.

VW Routan | Witness the most important story of our time. Ever. [vw.com/routan]
VW presents the Routan Babymaker 3000 [babymaker3000.com, thanks dt reader sara]
Previously: VW Routan: "Genuine Dick Ship" to debut at Chicago Auto Show


I find it odd that Brooke Shields, someone who struggled with infertility, would participate in an ad campaign that trivializes reproduction. This is the type of advertising (as silly as it is) that would have made me want to die when I was trying to conceive.

I saw Brooke up in our neck of the woods a few years ago. She was driving a (G500) Galaendawagen, so her DC brand loyalty goes deep.

the dumb part is she says something like "they'll do anything to get German engineering"
Uh, it may be a VW interior and exterior but they literally changed nothing on the engineering front as far as I know.

As someone who struggles with contemporary stupidity, this campaign makes me want to die just from watching it.

German engineering? My 1965 Beetle is perfection of its kind, and the Rabbits, Golfs and Jettas we drove through the 80s were great cars, much loved and enjoyed. Our experience with Jetta in the 90s, not so much. (You really NEED functioning electrics in a modern car!). Our friends' 00s Jetta experiences? Dismal. They got to deal with the electronic problems, plus transmission issues.

Once rabid (or is that "rabbit"?) VW fans, we'll never go back. Not to mention that VW once ran some of the wittiest, funniest, most effective advertising ever; this new batch isn't even funny -- although I think it was meant to be. It's just dumb, dumb, dumb.

VW folks have admitted to me personally how the problems with that Gen Jetta has killed the brand because A: it had lots of problems and B: They sold a shitton of them. So more people with stories like yours.

The new Jetta and Golf have done well quality wise while the Touareg and Passat have not. They really are still struggling with it at times but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a Jetta or Golf today.

I drive by a VW/Audi lot everyday on the way to the office, and the Routans are piling up faster than Passat CC's.

Sidebar: We were out in PA last weekend with our child, and we rented a Kia Sedona minivan. We had to say that driving around in a minivan with the 4.5 mo. old was in a way, eye opening. We love our Volvo V70 wagon, but could see how the headroom and interior mobility makes sense. Now I'm curious to go back and look at a Mazda 5, because I really want a vehicle that gets more than 24 mpg on the highway.

This is possibly the dumbest car ad I've ever seen. Yes, I remember that VW now has a "new" minivan with a dumb name. No, I don't remember anything about it's features/benefits, in fact the only things I remember about it are: 1) the commercial has Brooke Shields, 2) how there is nothing VW-like about the van (a new logo on a Chrysler T&C, great...), and 3) its a painfully dumb ad that makes me glad I have a DVR.

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