Friday, May 30, 2008

Vott! Are you schtoopeed man?

Well, maybe I am a little thick, bit I really don't understand this commercial for Citroen. It features a Wagnerian soundtrack. A Tuetonic character who slips into his Citroen after a duel in the Bavarian mountains, stops for a liverwurst snack on the autobahn home. He ultimately arrives for the car's beauty shot somewhere near the Brandenburg gate. The denouement, if you'll pardon my French, "The New Citroen C5 - Unmistakeably German."

Whaoh, backup. German? Ja, das ist korrect. German.

The commercial doesn't work for me on a couple of levels.

a) It is ridiculous. People don't duel anymore (EU regulations).
b) Anyone who eats liverwurst at a German greasy spoon would not refuse the advances of a Fraulein in traditional peasant Sunday best.
c) Citroen is French (cue the Marseillaise)and,
d) The good thing about Citroen was that it was unmistakably French,…the madcap engineering genius, the weird styling, the flamboyant unreliability. It's accent was as French as De Gaulle's big nose, as acquired a taste as escargot and …well, you get my drift.

In a world where differentiation through design is vanishing entropically gravitating the waning warmth of a central, generic core the defiant oddballness of Citroen and Renault were (and it galls me to use the past tense) what made them …them. Not to everyone's taste. But that is the point. The fundamental, unchanging law of marketing is that you cannot be all things to all people.

There are plenty of German cars already. Why would the French feel the need to deny their true selves to pretend to be something they are not?

I am getting all misty eyed now at the thought of shark nosed DS, with silky smooth hydropneumatic suspension, 2CV people's cars spluttering merrily through tree lined roads in the Dordogne.

Citroen German?…Merde non!

Jean Paul Goude must be having hysterics. Or ignoring it and geting on with being French:

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