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VW's latest ad finds a new and clever way to make you weep

Commentary: The automaker's UK arm releases an ad that makes you think about the brand's shortcomings, as you think about your own.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Car logos in Poland

Trust it?

Getty Images

The VW brand feels more tarnished than the coins that get stuck for years in my trouser pockets.

Its emissions scandal still rumbles on. And its cars don't exactly fuel desire. 

Yet along comes the company's English arm with an ad that is oddly clever, moving and thoughtful.

The scenario is a real wedding reception in the north of England. You may struggle with an accent or two here -- the north of England has its own distinct word-music -- but please concentrate, as it's worth it.

The best man, Jordan Oldem, is reading his speech from a piece of paper and his nerves are defeating him. It's as if he can barely utter a couple of words before seeing only a blank page. The guests try to encourage him.

Finally, he gives up and sits down, to the sympathetic groans from the guests.

What on earth does this have to do with Volkswagen? 

Patience, my friends.

We next see him looking quite dapper and getting into some sort of Volkswagen. Apparently, it's a Tiguan. It might as well be a Wigwam. This ad has a more exalted purpose.

As our best man drives, he explains that he hasn't seen the bride since the wedding. He's embarrassed to have become the focus of that day and fears he ruined it. 

He picks up the bride and groom. He drives them for a little while and then stops. He parks in the countryside and explains that he's trying to make amends.

What does this have to do with Volkswagen?

The purpose of bringing them somewhere quiet is to make his speech to them personally, in the hope that he can at least make some amends for his failure. Yes, in the car.

Is the allusion becoming clear? This might just be about Volkswagen trying to apologize, too.

I can't help thinking that the underlying "nobody's perfect" message is aimed at asking viewers to think about their own shortcomings and to forgive VW's.

The whole thing is beautifully filmed and played -- by real people. 

The tears that roll seem genuine and you might just join in with them. Even the hug between the two men is the right and genuine sort of British awkward. 

For more than three minutes, there's been nothing said about the car or the brand. At the very end, we get the words "handle everything with confidence," followed by "in a Volkswagen SUV."

How many times have you heard a salesperson say, "Trust me"? 

That's what VW is saying here, but far, far more elegantly.

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