Distinctive, fun, cool appeal of the VW Beetle
Since the late 1970's when my dad drove a golden 1303S VW Beetle there has been a special place in my heart for VW.  The first car I bought was a dark blue new Beetle and could not find a better replacement seven years later, so I currently drive a red Luna mk II, pictured on the right.   I await either the high riding Beetle Dune or camper concepts to hit production before I can think about changing again, as I love the feeling it gives me.  I get regular waves around the village from friends & even on campus as the large windscreen, personal number plate and less popular colour of the distinctive shell, I am regularly spotted.  (Not I might add for my poor driving skills, but my sublime taste in automotive tech.)

REFLECTION on the VW emissions scandal

Of course, some say it is because I would never find a boring standard car in the car park, which has some truth, as on that recent horrible rainy day I walked right past my bug - I blame puddle dodging or gloating about snow tyres. I have also been engulfed in the revivalist movement that has seen brand VW come to epitomise cool counter culture, the blend of hippie and surf lifestyles that celebrate the low and slow vibe on "the scene".  I do not care that his Jeremyness of Clarkson ridicules my beloved car, having a smile on your face is crucial for me.

It is not cool, and if anything Beetles are the "wife's car", often seen with a middle aged female driver, perhaps a function of marketing positioning that sought to amplify the fun, hippie flower power associations and undercook the performance aspects.  
The re-invented 'new' Beetle had a modest, plastic vase to hold a flower or two on the dash board.   Penny pinching VW dealers missed the opportunity for spontaneous human theatre and the chance to build a strong customer relationship by not offering a free flower with new purchases.  This represented a major cock up in my mind, saving perhaps a couple of pounds, by failing to customise the clinical grey hued, German style servicescape and offering a more emotionally engaging purchase experience.  

Superbowl launched new Beetle (Mk 3) advert


The mark III model looks to reposition the car with a more masculine appeal, a range of powerful engines and a more original shell like oval is employed.  Officially they are attempting to merely rebalance the gender appeal,  not switch over to male dominant.  John Lasseter has cleverly achieved gender balancing with Disney princess animations such as Frozen (Ice Princess) and Tangled (Rapunzel) by strengthening the supporting male role and using charismatic non-human characters.    Film trailers carefully distract any reading of the obvious princess fairy tale story line.  Hence the sublime commercial performance of Frozen which has appealed widely to families with boys as well as girls.  My read, however, is that the Beetle has gone from being a fun, female car into being a sporty, male dominated choice.  Interesting marketing approach.  

Take a look on the road next time you are out and see who is driving the newest models.


"60 Years Man and Van" TV Ad

Paternalistic emotional advertising:  Superbowl uber creative