Have you ever thought about turning a product’s USP on its head to show potential customers a potential pitfall? I hear you asking why you should consider flagging up any potential product weaknesses, but positioning a product benefit as a potential liability can be a great formula for comedy. Take the Volkswagen advert which promotes the car makers fuel-saving Start/Stop technology.
The ad, from Adam&EveDDB in London and Outsider director James Rouse, opens on the streets of a deserted city at night. A father is seen driving around with his infant son trying to soothe him to sleep. The only problem is the Tiguan’s Start/Stop feature, which causes the engine to shut off whenever the vehicle comes to a complete halt. This saves gas, but doesn’t do any favours for our fidgety baby who wakes up and starts crying at every red light. When the light turns green, the engine starts up again and the baby drifts back to dreamland.
As a new parent, I love this advert. The daily battle of getting infants to sleep in the daytime or to drift off at night time often leads to hours pushing or rocking the pram or driving around the lanes in a desperate attempt to make baby sleep. Tim Nudd fom Adweek says: “Few topics instantly draw parents in quite like their offspring’s sleep habits (or lack thereof). This VW ad is charming, too, but has that underlying sense of desperation (perfectly offset by its almost sarcastically happy soundtrack) that only adds to its richness.”
The advert clearly captures its target market, by adding humour to a situation every parent can relate to. It’s a clever piece of marketing which also promotes the car’s USP by turning it on its head. The truth is, whatever car you have, pausing at a traffic light always sets baby off. But it still might be worth telling the dad in this advert that you can turn off Start/Stop with the push of a button.