I seem to be riding an advertising hobby-horse lately, must be watching too much television. My gripe today is with a Volkswagen Passat ad that has been getting a lot of play recently.
The first questionable element is when we see the father-figure driving the car with mom in the passenger seat and a daughter in the back. For some reason dad almost smacks into the car stopped in front of them. Thankfully the VW stops itself before ramming into the other car. During dad’s zone-out, mom has been applying lipstick while looking in the mirror on the back of the sun visor. The sudden, perhaps life-saving stop activated by the VW’s safety package causes mom to jolt and smear lipstick all over her cheek. Messy, but far better than a whack in the chops with a deployed airbag. This is presented with much mirth as the kid in the back seat finds it hilarious, and even mom and dad have a chuckle. The fact that dad’s asinine driving could have resulted in injury or death is just laughed off.
The other potentially dangerous aspect of the ad is a cameo appearance at the end by Willie Nelson himself. To close the spot we see a yellow convertible VW beetle pull out and pass (correctly on the left mind you) the featured Passat. There is a guitar in the back seat and the car is driven by Nelson. Is it such a good idea to show an automobile being driven by an octogenarian who is a strong proponent of the regular recreational use of marijuana? A guy who in fact often sings a song he penned called Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die. Really? I love On the Road Again, but I’d prefer it if he would stick to being a passenger on his bus!