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#OrchidsandOnions: The world in slow-mo

New VW GTI: Bending time with Ogilvy's power of vrr-pha; Gut-punching shock as Emirates tells us it's 'on top of the world'.
#OrchidsandOnions: The world in slow-mo

Let’s start out with a declaration of possible conflict of interest: I am a car fan and having driven one for more than 25 years, a lover of most things Volkswagen.

So, any new VW ad would catch my attention. But, honestly, I do try my best to check my prejudices at the door when reviewing such ads and whether or not to give them an Orchid (I cannot think of a VW ad which has ever earned an Onion).

Yet, the new commercial for the just-announced Golf GTI will hit the spot with its intended audience – petrolheads of all ages and genders.

We see a red GTI (what else, when you’re trying to say fast without saying “fast”?) cruising through the streets. The driver passes various scenes where time seems to have slowed right down.

In the background of one group of people captured in slow-mo, we can see a poster: New GTI bending time. We see that motif repeated throughout – time’s so distorted when you’re a GTI driver that you even have time to correct little things in slow motion, such as putting someone’s pen back in his pocket after it falls out when he spills his office equipment in sheer amazement at the Golf.

As the driver gets to work, we see another time bender – this time a woman. The world half freezes around her and driver No 1 glances down as she gets into the lift to see her clutching a GTI keyring. They both smile, smugly.

The ad is, as you’d expect of VW, slickly produced with high production values. So, it’s interesting entertainment, which also makes a magnetic point about this new GTI: it’s so quick you’ll feel as though the rest of the world is standing still.

Oddly, although the ad is called “The power of vrr-pha”, which is local slang for the sound the car makes as its turbo vents hit the hard gear changes, that reference doesn’t appear in the ad itself.

A great piece of marketing for a legendary product. So, another Orchid to VW and to Ogilvy, its agency of many years standing.

On top of the world

The aim of many an ad industry creative is to produce a piece of work which is so stunning that it “goes viral”, with people sharing it with others for its sheer entertainment value and, in the process, giving the brand much bang for its distribution buck.

Such is the case with an ad for Emirates airline (sent to me “virally” by a colleague) welcoming the world back to Dubai. We see a flight attendant in the smart Emirates uniform, producing cue cards telling us Dubai is there, waiting for our business.

Emirates, one of the cards says, is “on top of the world”. Then the camera pans back to show the woman is standing atop a skyscraper, which is barely wide enough at its zenith to accommodate her feet. If she moves, you feel she will plunge to her death hundreds of metres below.

It’s gut-punch shocking, especially if you’re afraid of heights – but it gets across the message. Dubai is a brave place and home to amazing structures, and it’s where Emirates is based.

Well done, Emirates. An Orchid for great entertainment, as well as reminding us that normality is just around the corner.

About Brendan Seery

Brendan Seery has been in the news business for most of his life, covering coups, wars, famines - and some funny stories - across Africa. Brendan Seery's Orchids and Onions column ran each week in the Saturday Star in Johannesburg and the Weekend Argus in Cape Town.

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