Debrief: Volkswagen’s senseless ‘innovation’

13 Sep,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Volkswagen celebrated 9/11 with ‘shock and awe’. No, they didn’t drive their zippy cars into buildings, they did something even more spectacular: Stick a vibrator on the last page of certain newspapers, as the message read: ‘Feel the shiver of excitement?’. If this provided some, ahem, excitement to the female readers, that was short-lived; the gizmo was a cheap chip that vibrated the entire newspaper… this is Volkswagen’s method of showing us that they are an innovative company.


Well, Volkswagen has fooled around with newspapers with their wild ideas on previous occasions too, so this was nothing new. Clearly, their strategy, much like that desperate cartoonist called Trivedi, is to get attention at all costs (and for Volkswagen, the cost of these tricks must be phenomenal). So, yes, the idea worked, people hotly discussed the vibrator in the social media.


However, I would urge Volkswagen to try and put out ideas that connect with their cars. How does a vibrating chip relate to the Polo and the Vento? I really hope the cars don’t vibrate while being driven, that would be quite alarming! So this is trickery for the sake of trickery. And that’s not very smart thinking.


Also, must tell you, I had to purchase the TOI from the street vendor after I heard about the vibrating newspaper. And this is because my own copy arrived all soggy and wet (9/11 was a very rainy morn in Mumbai), water had seeped into the contraption and it had gone kaput! Again, hope that sort of stuff doesn’t happen to Volkswagen’s gaadis in the monsoons, hehe.


Rating: (On a scale of 1-5): 1. Silly, costly, irrelevant ‘innovation’.


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