Vauxhall: A warranty that won’t last a lifetime

The worst thing about this advert is the music. By a long, long way the music. Vauxhall has a habit of using bad music its ads, despite detours a few years back with The Fall and the brilliant use of Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer in the 80s.

But every 80s advert from Vauxhall used that Dad-rock hook from Eric Clapton’s Layla. And now there’s another MOR deluge in the shape of this shit-eating Feeder track. It’s an assault of mediocrity, which is particularly unfortunate for Vauxhall, as it’s a company that, despite making some excellent cars, has a reputation for being dull, average, mediocre.

Then the voiceover, the voice of a man who’s a captain of a tennis club in Frome. It might be Bill Nighy, which makes it worse. And have you heard what he’s saying?

“We’ve seen things a little differently from other manufacturers?” Yeah, cos the Vectra was such a radical departure eh? And don’t get me started on that first-generation Meriva. Woah. Tear up the rule book.

“We haven’t always taken ourselves too seriously?” Please. This is surely a reference to the baffling and irritating C’Mon! ads. That’s like John Major trying to prove he’s hip by dancing to Madness at a wedding.

Finally, and in some ways most egregiously, the ‘warranty that could last a lifetime’. There’s a myriad of ways that this claim needs to be qualified before it makes any sort of sense whatsoever.

Put it this way. Once you hit 100,000 miles that’s the end of your warranty. Once you sell the car, that’s the end of your warranty. Unless Vauxhall turns up at your house to shoot you in the head upon the immediate end of your warranty I don’t really see how this claim stands up at all. If you don’t have an annual service check at a Vauxhall-approved dealership (and guess what, you need some work doing!) you lose the warranty.

I don’t really see how any notional, metaphorical warranty can possibly be allowed when it’s qualified by hard figures. You might as well call a three-year warranty a ‘warranty that could last a lifetime’. Or even a ‘warranty that will last for ages’. Or ‘warranty as long as a piece of string.

The ridiculous thing is that this is a very generous warranty that shows the faith that Vauxhall has in its own product. Why not call it a ‘100K-mile warranty’. Or just say a ‘ten-year non-transferrable warranty’? I doubt the terms would work out that differently from the non-transferrable ‘lifetime’ warranty.

As it is the advert is communicating something that people hate (perhaps more than anything else in advertising) as the keynote to the whole 60 seconds.

Small print.

Even if the rest of the ad were good – it isn’t – the impression that most will be left with is that Vauxhall is trying to pull a fast one. Why even leave a lingering doubt in the customer’s mind, nevermind a crashing great iceberg of angst?

Shit music. The uncoolest voiceover ever. And a message that sounds like a rip-off. Great work, Vauxhall, great work.