VW Golf VI Subliminal Animal Commercial

The new commercial spot from Volkswagen for their Golf VI model features a crippled cheetah. Yes, you heard that right. The VW commercial begins with a wild life reporter from the African savannah and the local animal shelter.

She continues to talk about the abandoned animals who benefit from the shelter and the people working there, while a three-legged cheetah enters the scene. The reporter then moves her speech focus from a general perspective to a specific example, namely the three-legged cheetah. The clip continues from here on with several depictions of the wild-life protective lady and the incapacitated cheetah, who now became one of her closest friend.

While the commercial may seem to be harmless to the majority, even appealing to some, We think it is a typical “how not to” example, because of its “in your face” subliminal messages. With many commercials focusing on the product and its characteristics and utility, this one just plays dirty.

If you think we are exaggerating with this one, we apologies in advance, but stay with us for a moment.

We dislike the fact that it starts with a noble cause, that of helping animals, and continues with scenes of nurturing a crippled cheetah while showing a VW Golf VI in the background.

For the first part of the commercial the subliminal message is, as we see it: “this is a Golf VI, it is a safe and cheerful car that kind of resembles the love and protection of a parent for its child”. This argument can be strengthened by the phrase “they come here very young” which to us sound more like a reassurance to any parent that the VW Golf VI will be very safe for their children.

Now for the second part of the commercial the focus is moved from “the parent” to the “young potential buyer”. The ad shows the Golf VI in motion with the happy cheetah sticking out its head through one of the lowered windows. This message to us is similar to the following statement: “do not think I am not a fast and agile car”, even though I'm crippled (in our case, a compact class car) I still know my roots. Opinion strengthened by her saying “You know... just because she can't run, doesn't mean she's not a cheetah”.

We repeat this is just our take on the ad. We think they kind of tried to touch us in the soft spot with this one and that is why we personally reject it. We've considered the fact we might be too harsh with it, but that is what years of consumer-oriented ads will do to you.
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