VeeDubs Rock: Kinda, Sorta….Well, Not Really….

By now I’m sure everyone has seen the ads featuring guitar players (John Mayer, Slash and that-guy-from-spinal-tap) plugging their axe into their Volkswagen car stereo and rocking out. Being a guitar player myself, I was amazed by these at first. Seeing Slash plug into a double stack 3 GTIs high is pretty amazing (Mayer’s Beetle convertible “amp” isn’t nearly as cool) but then it got me thinking… a $600 piece of wood and steel really going to make someone plunk down around $20k for a car?

Volkswagen’s reliability woes are (supposedly) a thing of the past, with basically every model undergoing a full redesign except the Touareg SUV, which was in the top 10 least reliable luxury cars available according to It would seem that these things should really be selling themselves on their newfound quality and Audi-like designs. Their “Safe Happens” ads for example, showed a more grown up VW, one that wasn’t trying to skid by on its hip credentials alone, seemingly a step in the right direction. It’s unfortunate that they are back to their old tricks.

Now, about that $600 piece of wood and steel. The guitar is built by Boston based First Act, a company that seems to have made the decision to dump tons of money into fancy new digs on Newbury St. and marketing programs like this one to make consumers forget that the same guitars you can buy from their Newbury location can also be found in the aisles of department stores like Target. I can’t fault them for trying to reinvent them selves, but I can imagine it would be hard to go up against the likes of Fender and Gibson with inferior products selling at the same price points.

For the most part, this new ad campaign echoes the “gimicky” feel of VW’s old Jetta Trek and Jetta K2 ads, offering free bikes and skis with the purchase of a new VW, it didn’t really work then, why should it now. I think most consumers would rather see that $600 go back into their pocket, or at least into an iPod that plugs into the dash, something that was briefly offered on the Beetle a few years ago.

Volkswagen, I’m sure Steve Jobs would love to hear from you again.


1 Response to “VeeDubs Rock: Kinda, Sorta….Well, Not Really….”

  1. 1 Anonymous October 30, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    I thought the ads were really good at trying to keep the VW brand looking young and fresh. First Act is benefiting by getting some press for its custom guitars, that actually are pretty nic, that it really needs.

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