Volkswagen’s Joke Goes Flat


Today, we have a strange two-page ad for the Volkswagen Routan. The first page shows a Beetle with a microphone, saying: “No one has ever had a baby to get me. As far as I know.”

This doesn’t make any sense to me. How about you?

The next page shows actress Brooke Shields holding some babies while other babies peer into the camera. The headline says:

These are the Routan babies. Born out of desire. Desire for German engineering.

This doesn’t make any sense, either. I’ve never heard the word Routan before, so I’m wondering what Routan babies are. Maybe they have birth defects like Thalidomide babies.

Routans sound like evil aliens from Star Trek:

Kirk: Mr. Spock, how far are we from Routan space?

Spock: Exactly 0.54 parsecs.

Kirk: Uhura, see if you can raise the Routan high command. I want the Routans to know that we mean business.

Uhura: Yes, Captain.

I read the copy to find that they’re saying that people are having babies so they can buy this minivan.

Get it? It’s funny—people having babies for cars. Ha ha.


2 responses to “Volkswagen’s Joke Goes Flat

  1. 1minionsopinion


    Advertising must be a very strange business if they have to come up with ideas like this to sell cars.

    I don’t know who should be offended more, women or men. Probably women, since it perpetuates the myth that all we’re supposed to be doing is having babies so we need a vehicle big enough to transport them all. Like we’re all supposed to have enough kids to make up family baseball teams or something. Yeesh.

  2. This is another campaign that’s both in magazines and on TV. I’m not sure how well they work, necessarily, but the TV spots are pretty funny, with a pregnant couple, and Brooke Shields going on about how they’re having a baby just for the Volkswagen, with the couple realizing Brooke Shields is a looney. I’m not sure how the spots are supposed to advertise the cars, but at least they’re legitimately funny, if nothing else. It’s a lot more “huh? What?” in the magazine ads. This is obviously supposed to be funny, but it isn’t.

    One obvious problem with both the print and TV ads is that the talking Volkswagen Beetle always steals the spotlight from the cars actually being advertised. Like the Routan in this case. I’ll probably forget the non-Beetle car in this ad by tomorrow.