VW puts the ego in ‘ego trip’

OK, gang, this one looks like it’s from Crispin, so start your engines. The brochure at right is a guide called the “Ego Emissions Index,” which was inserted in this week’s New Yorker. (Sorry for the poor photo quality, but, hey, I’m a blogger, not a photographer!) Anyway, as you might be able to tell from the photo, blinging out your teeth carries a stratospheric Ego Emissions rating of 98. To continue with the theme, baldness rates a 3, Roman ruins a 57, and so forth. The brochure also includes stickers (which from a graphical perspective mimic auto-emissions ratings stickers) so you can dole out ego emissions standards of your own. There’s a also a companion Web site at egoindex.com. Now what does all of this have to do with VW? Excellent question. Here’s the explanation I found in the brochure: “Now, as you begin to use the Ego Emissions Index, you’ll notice that while most things come in somewhere between 20 and 80, other things, such as the Volkswagen Passat, come in much lower—around 5 or so.” And here’s another question: Is this campaign a little touch of Subservient Chicken genius or a belabored attempt at creating buzz?

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor