Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Adwatch - Citroen C5

If it weren't for the fact that coincidence is the explanation for most apparent plagiarisms, I would think that some advertising creative had been perusing back issues of my blog.
I once wrote - in relation to Renault - that, given the longstanding 'personality clash' between us and our nearest neighbours, the last thing you should do when marketing a French car to the British is emphasise its Frenchness.
So I was astonished to see the new TV commercial for the Citroen C5.
It consists of a period film shot in Germany with a Wagner soundtrack and culminates with the slogan 'Unmistakeably German'.
In smaller letters is the phrase 'Made in France'.

Citroen's website even has a quiz you can take to find out how German you are.
I failed it. A scary German gentleman who seemed to be moonlighting from a fetish movie told me that I was not unmistakably German.
In many ways this came as a relief although it does mean ditching my plan to enter this year's Village Carnival in lederhosen.

Leaving aside the fact that if you think the Citroen C5 is German then you are indeed mistaken, this commercial drives my argument into the fast lane to absurdity.
All I meant, chaps, was that you shouldn't over-emphasise the Frenchness of the product, for example with a string of garlic hanging from the mirror or irritating Frenchies running round shouting 'Nicole!' and 'Papa!'
Affluent Francophile shits with a Gîte will lap this up with as much alacrity as they would a dish of moules marinières but if you have a wider target market in mind it might be better to just focus on the qualities of the product.
Of course, the Citroen ad is presumably trying to exploit the supposed admiration for German engineering. But that does raise the question of why you wouldn't just buy a German-made car in the first place.

The final intriguing question is whether the French and Germans are now such good buddies that Citroen are using the 'Unmistakeably German' slogan in France?

And the final, final question is whether Citroen know that 'C5' was the name of Clive Sinclair's electric invalid carriage, which in all its legendary and hilarious failure was somehow 'unmistakeably British'.


At 10:53 AM, Blogger The Chief Executive said...

I enjoyed your C5 Adwatch. Disappointingly it appears the ad isn't showing in France (as I'm sure you suspected). Someone has helpfully posted a French C5 commercial on YouTube which features a computer re-hash youthful Sean Connery driving (from the Hitchcock movie Marnie). There are some equally sureal supplementary UK ads there too - like the interview with Klaus!

At 6:52 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

CE: belated thanks for your comments. I didn't really expect the ad to be shown in France. If the French knew about it do you think they'd be annoyed?

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Les Miserable said...

"Unmistakeably Nazi Overtones" in my book. have a look - Citroën C5 spot


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