Shouldn’t Volkswagen just give up with the Beetle?

Volkswagen, aka VW, is launching a new VW Beetle, yet another attempt to renew the eponymous car that made the company’s fortunes in the 1930’s and the next few decades afterwards (there was a war in the middle, obviously) but which really ran out of gas years ago.

The new model is apparently better than the last one, but still not all that good. VW should stick to making Golfs, Skodas and Audis.

Here’s one of the US launch commercials from Deutsch/LA which makes the best of a bad job by enlisting the brilliant Chris Palmer as director and Shirley Ellis’ old hit ‘The clapping song.’

But cars are big purchases, especially when, as now, most people don’t have any money.

In the US Chrysler/Fiat has found the same thing with the botched launch of the Fiat 500, a small car that was supposed to wow America but was screwed up by the wrong choice of management, agency and the belief that a self-serving Jennifer Lopez music video could double as an ad.

These days cutesy cars (and ads) just don’t work. You certainly can’t try to sell them like a music download.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.