February 4, 2011

"So I love this commercial because it captures the shared experience of Generation X."

"We like being home to make our kids peanut butter and jelly. You could not sell Baby Boomers with this. They think it’s lame to sit in a kitchen waiting for your kid to be hungry. We like having a male breadwinner and we’re not afraid to say it. And we are surrounded by little boys in love with Star Wars...."

81 comments:

Dave said...

My son will love this one.

edutcher said...

I didn't think the X-ers had any shared experiences (although it looks as if this woman is as self-absorbed as the worst of the Lefty Boomers).

And I love the line, "but earnings are all relative, and people are discriminating against the Baby Boomers because of their age, so it’s our heyday."

Ain't that the truth.

PS She sounds as if she should be writing for the Gray Lady.

holdfast said...

I like the commercial, but of course I am a complete SW geek.

Scott M said...

HOLY SHIT! Great commercial. Bring forth the Boomer bashing in great heaps (there's never any progress in any issue without heaps).

When we look back, we will see that Gen X redefined family and work. We are the first generation that gave women a choice to do anything they want. So we’re the generation that reveals that what women really want is to be with their kids. Maybe not all the time. But more than men. That’s for sure.

Rather than give credit to Gen X, which I'm wholly a part of and proud to be so, I'd say it's more a return to sanity and dealing with the real world as it is, rather than mentally remaining an undergrad our entire lives.

I would go so far as to give credit to the Boomers for outing just how awful things can be when all you do is focus on "I want".

David said...

Sounds like the 50's.

Scott M said...

I didn't think the X-ers had any shared experiences

Smoke another one, hippie. Wrong.

shoutingthomas said...

The return to traditional values is inevitable.

That will soon become a flood that cannot be held back.

Like all revolutions (except the American Revolution), the Boomer revolution failed. And,it failed for the same reason all revolutions (except the American Revolution) filed... a refusal to accept the reality of the human condition.

Brian said...

Must be a midget in that suit. What kid could put such nuance into that performance?

William T. Sherman said...

My 5 year old started kindergarten last fall at a local private school. On day one the 60 something year old teacher asked all the children to take out a paper and draw a picture of something in their lives they were thankful to Jesus for. My son drew an enormous black circle with a smaller circle inside it off center near the top. The teacher says why William that's beautiful....what is it?

William: "that's the Death Star".

holdfast said...

Not so keen on this Penelope bint, though.

"We don’t earn as much as Baby Boomers did because we work such fewer hours. We’ve downsized our careers to take care of our kids. We’ve taken back the dignity of working part-time. We’ve deconstructed stay-at-home parenting as a respectful career alternative."

Speak for yourself sweetcheeks. Most of the X-er men that I know are working their asses of, working far harder than our fathers did, though our relative purchasing power and lifestyle doesn't seem to be as good. I would agree that a lot of X-er women have chosen to be stay-at-home moms, or like my wife, work at less intense jobs than their male classmates, and that's fine - a family is supposed to be a partnership, and you don't want the kids to be raised only by nannies and TV, but I resent the notion that we're somehow all chilled out. Like the boomers before her, Penelope has taken her personal life choices and tried to imbue them with some deeper, more general and cosmic meaning or importance that they simply don't have. So driving a shiny new car at the top end of the VW range represents a return to simpler, more humble times simply because it isn't a Merc or Beemer? It's still a German import for Chrissake.

lasckbounce said...

Great vid--unfortunately the product quality has dropped. Market forces--read japanese --have pushed VW to cheapen this line.

Scott M said...

Forget the Boomer/Gen X thing. This is one of those rare, almost non-existent breed of commercial in which the father is not a blundering, oafish foil for the wise, knowing mother and embarrassed that their dad is their dad kids.

It almost makes me want a VW.

Tristram said...

Haha. My wife called me yesterday.My two year old apparently got my 5 year olds Darth Vader Mask (same costume as the commercial), put it on while wearing nothing but his diaper came up to her and growled menacingly.

Of course, they do have a Darth Vader FatHead on the wall...

We are not trying to raise them as geeks, but seriously, spaceships, robots and light sabers, what's not to like for two boys?

Henry said...

Funny commercial. But that's not a real boy. My boy's powers of destruction actually work.

Freeman Hunt said...

Some commenters over at Trunk's place are lamenting that VW's description of the ad indicates that Vader is, in fact, a little boy and not a genderless child. Silly. (Some girls like Star Wars, sure, but nine times out of ten, really ten out of ten, when I'm at somebody's house, the Vader mask belongs to a boy.)

I will say that the ad does seem to do what Trunk says it does. At least as far as the middle class goes.

edutcher said...

Scott M said...

I didn't think the X-ers had any shared experiences

Smoke another one, hippie.


Smile when you say that, slacker. I never tie-dyed, dropped, or smoked anything in my life.

elliot said...

That house doesn't look like one you could afford without working hard to me.

former law student said...

Gen X is just so family oriented and conventional. Trunk's famous tweet:

I'm in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there's a fucked-up 3-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin. 7:34 AM Sep 21st, 2009 via web Retweeted by 2 people

penelopetrunk

On her blog she discusses her two abortions -- one after 15 weeks at age 27, and another at age 30.

Oligonicella said...

"We are the first generation that gave women a choice to do anything they want."

Every generation of women from at least 1900 on has been recorded saying this.

Henry said...

Good grief, holdfast, it's not like its a Touareg!

The Passat Wagon is the most hated car I have ever owned.

Scott M said...

Without stirring up the abortion debate, FLS, I think the point was that Gen X has decided, rightfully so, that a woman can do WTF she wants and it's still okay. If that includes staying at home, that's just fine and as respectable as having a career. Boomer feminists resorted to calling housewives mentally ill, remember?

lucid said...

Yeah, too bad we "penis possessors" don't have the same option.

Robert Cook said...

I'm sorry, but the woman's paean to her Gen X cohort is addle-pated hoo-hah, baloney of the baloniest kind.

(Are we sure this is not meant as parody?)

Paddy O said...

And we are surrounded by little boys in love with Star Wars....

Meaning both the husbands and the sons. The sons love it because of their fathers, who were shaped by Star Wars.

Soon, the young ones will surpass their fathers, they who were once the learners will become the master, and will rule the universe!

somefeller said...

I'm not a fan of Penelope Trunk, but I think she has it right with this one, particularly with respect to the idea that being a stay-at-home / part-time working mom isn't seen as problematic among Gen Xers. I know lots of people in my generation (including my wife) who are doing that and it isn't seen as some sort of conservative or liberal cultural statement. And in many cases, it's best for the kids and the parents, if you can afford it.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am not a Gen-Xer, but rather a moderately early Boomer. Yet, I found the commercial amazingly good. You get the feeling that everything is right in this country, and if it takes a VW for that, then fine.

And, I love the build-up through out the ad. And, then the ending. You know, at the end, that this is something special between the father and his son.

MadisonMan said...

I'm sorry, but it is lame to sit at home and wait for your kid to be hungry just so you can make him lunch.

Teach the kid to make his own damn lunch.

peter hoh said...

Like the ad.

Could do without the analysis.

Sometimes a good ad is just a good ad.

former law student said...

Yet somehow in her rhapsodizing over the traditional values of her fellow Gen X moms, Trunk does not stop to think, "And maybe I shouldn't have had the kid's older brother scraped out of my uterus, so that now he would have someone to play with besides Daddy."

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



It’s a car commercial…really must it become a Cultural Exposition? I loved it, don’t get me wrong….I mean when Althouse posts things like this, I feel she is pulling a “Beck” on us, all we need is some black boards upon which to arrange our points, about the seemingly insignificant occurrences in life that have a deeper meaning…she could have just linked Beck, oddly enough, who has this preview without any discussion of its deeper or “real” meaning.

Coketown said...

GM already did this ad with the last generation Malibu. An amusing black girl is casting spells on it, to no avail. Then her dad comes out and says, "try it like this," and says, "abracadabra." So the girl repeats it and the dad hits the remote starter.

I liked the analysis, and agree with it. We're seeing a lot more commercials where the featured item isn't a tool for self-liberation but an integral part of a broader family structure. I can't say I disapprove!

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Jesus christ. As a Gen X-er, please shut up with your Baby Boom-ish generational narcissim! No one I know makes sweeping generalizations about our "generation". We don't even think of ourselves AS a generation. Or at least my peers don't- unlike her I won't declare my narrow experience to be shared by millions my age group.

That's old, tired thinking.

Triangle Man said...

Jesus christ. As a Gen X-er, please shut up with your Baby Boom-ish generational narcissim!

Amen! Who is it doing all this labeling of generations? The Boomers! Get over it.

Coketown said...

@Jeff: you should pay attention to us 'Gen Why?' types. We have nothing good to say about your whole generation, and we only deal in sweeping generalizations. I'd elaborate, but what's the point?

Paul Zrimsek said...

That house doesn't look like one you could afford without working hard to me.

Between themselves they call it the Debt Star.

LordSomber said...

She sounds so self-absorbed, she must have Boomer parents.

As a Gen Xer with Silent Generation parents, this type of person annoys me to no end.

Shanna said...

That commercial was great.

knox said...

My 5-yr-old son just watched this about 5 times in a row, til I shooed him away from the computer.

WV: psith!

knox said...

Critics, look at it this way: at least the male in the ad is not portrayed as a mere idiot to be bossed around by his much smarter and capable wife, like so many other commercials today.

LakeLevel said...

Jesus christ. As a Gen X-er, please shut up with your Baby Boom-ish generational narcissim!

Yeah it's like Camille Paglia going off on Lady Gaga. Get Over It! It's just music. The Boomers decided to make music some politically important thing. It's just music! (Translation for you boomers: Gen-x is post-modern).

former law student said...

I like the commercial, by the way -- it's cute. But using Penelope Trunk as a filter brings up her issues.

Paul Zrimsek said...

WV: psith!

After the Wodehouse character who uses the combined power of insouciance, an Eton education, and the Dark Side to foil the suspicious Baxter and take over the galaxy.

lemondog said...

Hahahaha.....great commercial.

Echo Scott M comment that Dad is not depicted as a nincompoop.

holdfast said...

I unreservedly endorse the comment made by Robert Cook, above.


Wow, that was weird. Is it the end of times?

t-man said...

I second Lord Somber's point.

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
k*thy said...

Good commercial. Loved the music and the kid reminds me of my 6-year old nephew. His dad, a boomer, would so do that.

BTW, Freeman, what's the breakdown for Buba Fett gear?

JAL said...

Cute. Sweet. Funny.

Even without Penelope's commentary.

(Second try. I am deluded if i think I don't have to spell check 4 letter words.)

MadisonMan said...

It is a nice commercial -- I really like that the Dad is in tune enough with the kid to give him such a thrill.

Every kid should think that they're magical at some point in their young life.

Scott M said...

Every kid should think that they're magical at some point in their young life.

I've been making mini-movies with my 6 and 3 year olds. The 6-year-old will wave a magic wand at the 3-year-old and turn her into the baby, the dog, a coat, etc. Basic stop-camera stuff, but they think it's endlessly hilarious.

BJM said...

Huh? The Gen-Xer women I know and have worked with are/were hard driving careerists who shoehorned motherhood into their schedule, and would rather chew off a foot than stay home with small children. Perhaps Silicon Valley is an outlier in this regard.

It's a little disingenuous to whine when Gen-Xers had no problem with their Boomer parents giving them a car, paying for their education, ponying up a down payment, co-signing a mortgage or financing a start-up.

We tend to forget that a large percentage of the leading edge of the Boomer wave (born between 1946-56) did not attend college, nor were they hippies or anti-war protesters. Even in the 60's many women attended college to find a husband; only about a third of my Greek sisters took up careers.

Less than 30% of my high school class went to college. Boomers took jobs, got married, had kids, bought a modest home...acquired an asset base...like our terminally square parents. We have become them, ironic ain't it?

Gen-Xers will become us...with the Millennials barking at their heels...same as it always was.

Think not? Take a look at a photo of your mother/father at your present age and look in the mirror. Every morning I see my mother looking at me in the mirror and when I make a frivolous purchase I hear dad admonishing me to be financially responsible.

Phil 3:14 said...

Wow, all that from a car commercial. She needs to get out more.

(cute commercial)

Phil 3:14 said...

fls;
This is a side of you I haven't seen.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

LordSomber said...
"She sounds so self-absorbed, she must have Boomer parents.

As a Gen Xer with Silent Generation parents, this type of person annoys me to no end. "

Exactly- my parents were born in 1940 and 1946, and they have zero in common with the self-loving chattering class of Boomers. In fact, they filled us with so many stories if late-Depression poverty that my sister and I take nothing for granted in our financial and educational paths. My Dad would sooner cut off his right arm before brag about himself, let alone his "generation"

TML said...

Pure delight. If this was in my bag, I'd be happy retiring from this biz.

peter hoh said...

Anybody in or near the Twin Cities who would like to have some fun with their kids this weekend?

Okay, I guess you don't really need to have kids to participate. Just thought I would try to tie this to the thread somehow, since there isn't a cafe post today.

Leonardo's Basement is holding their 4th annual Ice Sculpture event at Griggs Park in St. Paul on Saturday and Sunday, from 1-4 pm.

We could use some volunteers, too.

Details in the flyer.

http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs018/1101424482286/img/797.jpg

Ralph L said...

so that now he would have someone to play with besides Daddy
It depresses me to see so many one child families (often of older parents). Granted, my brother and I fought like cats and dogs, always his fault.

Who will share their memories?

E.M. Davis said...

It’s a car commercial…really must it become a Cultural Exposition?

Because the commercial tells us literally nothing about the car. There's no inherent benefit to buying or owning a VW that's expressed in the ad. There's no differentiator (remote start? please), no unique selling proposition (or I've heard those things called.)

It's about the human experience, which we are supposed to connect to a brand, VW. It's horribly manipulative, but it's so well done that we don't mind the manipulation, because it comes from a place that seems honest and pure.

Trunk proceeds to make a mountain out of a molehill, and in the process elaborates and projects far beyond the capacity of this one minute television commercial to fully demonstrate the myriad differences between the boomer generation and my fellow Gen-Xers.

peter hoh said...

For Super Bowl ad fans, and fans of banned ads:

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opinion/The-Super-Censored-Bowl-Ad-Challenge-6848

Ralph L said...

Because the commercial tells us literally nothing about the car
Besides the price, and that good looking people in affluent neighborhoods drive one.

natatomic said...

It depresses me to see so many one child families (often of older parents).

Yep, that describes me - only child with older parents. And I will be the first in line to tell you how much it sucks, especially since all of my cousins have siblings. Now that we're all older and they're out of the fighting-with-each-other phase, I get to watch them reminisce about their childhood together, while I have no one to share memories with. I know, I know - oh woe is me - but I'm telling you, being a spoiled only child (though I really wasn't spoiled like some only kids are) is not all it's cracked up to be. I would have much rather done with less and had someone to share a lifetime with me. At least I can provide that to my future children, because I am definitely having more than one (whether through natural means or adoption).

Methadras said...

That was great. GREAT!!! The little kid in the DV costume nailed it. So awesome.

Methadras said...

Scott M said...

Forget the Boomer/Gen X thing. This is one of those rare, almost non-existent breed of commercial in which the father is not a blundering, oafish foil for the wise, knowing mother and embarrassed that their dad is their dad kids.

It almost makes me want a VW.


That's right. It's a misandry free commercial isn't it.

E.M. Davis said...

Besides the price, and that good looking people in affluent neighborhoods drive one.

Like nearly every other car in the world, apparently.

Scott M said...

That was great. GREAT!!! The little kid in the DV costume nailed it. So awesome.

JV costume. Not DV.

Jane said...

Wonderful post. I LOVED it. I shared it with all my college-educated former vice-president Mommy friends who will love it, too. I'm waiting for my husband to come home, my little boy just had PB and J, my daughters are on a playdate, and all is well. We play "light dark" with our saber – turn off all the lights, and use the light saber to find people around the house.

k*thy said...

It depresses me to see so many one child families (often of older parents).

Don't assume it's planned that way. My daughter begged for a sibling when she was younger. We tried. We expected to have a larger family, but it didn't happen.

She's got a bus load of cousin's that she's very close to. That, us and her close friends will have to do. She seems pretty content with that.

LIfe is what you make it.

tree hugging sister said...

Posted this myself earlier today, because it frickin' rocks.

Tari said...

Wonderful commercial - and I'm the mother of a Star Wars-obsessed 2nd grader, so I should know. ;) But if you think Penelope Truck speaks for Gen X ... well, you need a medication adjustment almost as badly as she does.

Dogwood said...

The kids!? Hell, I like making myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, if I can get to the bread before the kids do.

As for the car, meh, we drive a 2003 Passat Wagon that actually looks like a German car, not the Japanese jellybeans Volkswagen builds today.

PatCA said...

I loved it until I saw the kind of mean look in the dad's eyes when he clicked the lights on.

What's wrong with emotion at a moment like this? The "edge" is something Gen X ought to think about giving up too.

James said...

Volkswagen Super Bowl ad is an anthem to Gen X

The woman in the kitchen is not glamorous. She’s efficient, self-confident, and she knows what her child needs. She looks like she was vice-president-of-something before she had kids. And she appears to have managed to keep a marriage together, which is something Generation X works harder at than their parents did. (The divorce rate for college-educated white women is now less than 2%.)


Can anyone verify the claim of a 2 percent divorce rate for college educated white women?

knox said...

We tend to forget that a large percentage of the leading edge of the Boomer wave (born between 1946-56) did not attend college, nor were they hippies or anti-war protesters

True. This describes my parents, for example. But the boomers are still largely responsible for the moral and finanacial bankruptcy of the country. It's not a pleasant notion, but there it is.

Pretty much everyone knows we need to start cutting back entitlements, and they're still going "mine. mine. mine." Grandchildren be damned.

former law student said...

Pretty much everyone knows we need to start cutting back entitlements, and they're still going "mine. mine. mine."

After a lifetime spent paying for other people's Social Security and Medicare, the first boomers will reach (the new) full retirement age next year. Unfortunately for them, Reagan and his successors raided the surplus FICA taxes they put in to finance his tax cuts.

So I don't see how boomer greed led to this.

knox said...

So I don't see how boomer greed led to this.

By not demanding accountability sooner. Like millions of people are now. Finally. They're all being ridiculed as crazy by liberals like you. Incidentially.

I've been told since I was 18 that there'd by no SS left for my generation. Boomers know this too, and many, many still aren't willing to budge.

Just ask George W. Bush!

Christy said...

Has anyone seen this
Highlander
commercial mocking Boomers?

I remember being the last to find out that one of our secretaries was quitting to become a homemaker. She seemed surprised that I was enthusiastically supportive. I would congratulate myself for transcending my Boomerhood, but then again, I confess to being slightly distressed when my Gen X cousin quit her job as an engineer to be a full time mother. But what a mother she is! Last time I saw her these two little boys had just watched a Blue Angels show and then enthusiastically explored one of the jets and then the big maintenance C-whatever which had to fly in to fix one of those jets. She is not sitting around waiting for them to become hungry, she's busy enriching their lives.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deborah said...

Usually this Boomer/Gen X thing dosn't bother me but something about Trunk's smugness pissed me off. Neither she nor any of these other self-satisfied, self-absorbed "mommy bloggers" (Dooce, I'm looking at you) invented motherhood, staying at home with kids, or sacrificing income for raising your own children. So fucking lay off the previous generation, kids. We showed you HOW it was done.

tim maguire said...

This may be the only car commercial I've seen in the last decade that had a husband/father who wasn't a complete idiot.

Never mind how the complete idiot managed to support the lifestyle the commercial always puts the family in, the wife cured cancer while the husband was watching football.

knox said...

self-satisfied, self-absorbed "mommy bloggers" (Dooce, I'm looking at you)

Dooce is highly annoying.

Scott M said...

So fucking lay off the previous generation, kids. We showed you HOW it was done.

Yes...because you guys in the "previous generation" learned how to turn your kids into latchkey kids from who?