DDB Syndney Launches ŠKODA Effort ‘For Those Who Buy the Car, Not the Ad’

By Erik Oster 

DDB Sydney launched a new broadcast campaign for the ŠKODA Octavia, touting the vehicle as ‘For Those Who Buy the Car, Not the Ad.”

A series of ads center around the theme of car ad clichés. Chances are viewers of all kinds will be familiar with these tropes, from orchestral soundtrack to “that look” every male driver seems to give when cornering a turn, to standing and pointing at a scenic overlook with the car in the background to suspiciously well-behaved children in the back seat.

“Life is a journey,” begins the stereotypical voiceover in one 60-second spot, continuing “It doesn’t matter where you’re going.” Then the voiceover is interrupted by an actress in the passenger seat turning to the camera and saying, “You’re not seriously buying all this are you?”

She points out that she just met the actor playing her husband that morning and that the “real parents” of the “unnaturally well-behaved” children in the backseat must be proud. Near the end of the spot she gets to the point of the effort, saying, “But strip all of this away and what are you really paying for? A car. Wouldn’t you prefer yours to come with everything but the clichés?”

Other spots in the campaign mostly follow a similar formula. In one ad the director is shown giving some rather morbid advice to child actors while touting the vehicle’s safety. Another shows the same couple from the first spot at a scenic location while the actress contrasts the need for car ads to appear sexy with the utility of some of the car’s features.

While the sarcastic, meta approach to advertising is becoming widespread enough to risk becoming a cliché itself, it’s not yet all that ubiquitous in the automotive category. The types of clichés the spot mocks are also rampant enough that any viewers will be very familiar with them and able to spot them in other ads after seeing DDB Sydney’s effort. That should make “For Those Who Buy the Car, Not the Ad” memorable, especially for those lulled into the false sense of sameness at the beginning of the spots.

“It’s not anti-category,” DDB Group Australia managing partner Amanda Wheeler explained to LBB. “It’s anti-cliché.”

“I thought: ‘This is brilliant! Why has no-one thought of it before?’ Initially we wanted to do a more conventional ad which points outs the merits of the car, but another way of doing it was found and it’s one we couldn’t resist,” added ŠKODA Australia managing director Michael Irmer. “I think now that this will make you think of ŠKODA every time you see one of those car brands that uses the clichés.”

Agency: DDB Sydney
Chief Creative Officer: Toby Talbot/Ben Welsh
Copywriter: Sam Pascoe
Art Director: Jason Woelfl
Managing Partner: Amanda Wheeler
Creative Partner: Steve Jackson, Ant Melder, Michael Barnfield

Production Company/Post Production: Finch
Producer: Sarah Cook
Director: Jae Morrison
Editorial and Online: Tim Mauger

Music Agency: Nylon Studios
Sound Design: Stuart Welch

Media Agency: Mediacom