If lawyers had a sense of humor, the world would be a much more entertaining place to live.
Instead, anyone with a legal degree and a corporate job seems intent on obliterating all bits of humor from the planet. The latest example is a funny advertisement Volkswagen America made to promote the new 2011 Jetta. It’s called “Shoot the Gap,” and goes something like this:
A young couple is test-driving the Jetta as a salesman discusses the car’s attributes, saying the car is “built for the Autobahn.” The guy driving blows off the comment by saying he and his wife are both conservative drivers, at which point little-miss-conservative in the back seat begins bouncing up and down, screaming, “Shoot the gap!”
The driver proceeds to step on the gas and accelerate though a pack of slow-moving semi trucks before an air of calmness again descends on the vehicle’s occupants, and they discuss mundane things like scheduled maintenance. The ad is funny and communicates attractive selling points, both elements that should lead to success.
Check out the vid:
The problem is, apparently some law-degree-toting know-it-all and a few Facebook crybabies decided the ad wasn’t just an ad, but an instructional driving video. So instead of broadcasting the ad across America’s airwaves and risking offending a person or two, Volkswagen censored itself by pulling it.
Yes, we all know recklessly accelerating between semi trucks at highway speeds isn’t a safe maneuver. We also know ducks don’t sell insurance and sock puppets don’t drive Sorentos, but that doesn’t stop Aflac and Kia from having some fun with their TV ads.
Advertising is built on catching attention in innovative, funny and sometimes shocking ways. That certainly applies to the auto industry, and it’s a sad testament to the state of American affairs that a company can be influenced by a small group of humorless nitwits who lack the mental capacity to discern humor from reality.
Which would you rather watch: an ad emphasizing a car’s sensible interior and practical economy, or a cute young woman excitedly telling her husband to “Shoot the gap!”? I’ll take shooting the gap every time, and I hope VW comes up with an equally funny and irreverent ad to replace it.