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Since we often just glimpse an outdoor ad as we pass by, subtlety is seldom a virtue in that medium. (We’ll ignore for now the question of whether subtlety is such a hot idea in indoor advertising, either.) This presents a difficulty for Volkswagen, which has thrived in recent years with subtly nuanced sales pitches. Can the brand run billboards that sustain the tone of VW print and television advertising without leaving passersby baffled? A new batch of billboards for VW convertibles (each showing a top-down, unpeopled car) suggests a mixed verdict.