Volkswagen’s recent Matrix-inspired TV advert has received the dubious honour of being the fifth most complained-about UK commercial ever, according to the Advertising Standards Authority.
The advert features a Volkswagen designer battling with sinister clones of himself, with the tagline “sometimes the only one you have to beat is yourself”. The fight scenes draw obvious inspiration from the Matrix movies and contain some great choreography, as well as inspired use of items such as exhausts and brake discs as improvised weapons.
According to Volkswagen the fight is “metaphorical rather than real” and the “exaggerated, cartoon-like sound effects and actions were designed to dispel the gravity of the fighting”. However, that hasn’t stopped the advert receiving 1,066 complaints and a subsequent ban from being shown before the 9pm watershed. The fear was that the advert would lead to copycat behaviour by children, although VW had only bought TV slots after 5.30pm to ensure the ad wasn’t shown during childrens’ programmes.
So is this just another over-the-top reaction by a minority of the British public? As an example of how easily some people can be offended, the advert with the most complaints ever is the 2005 KFC Crunch Salad advert that featured people singing with their mouths full of food. 1,671 people complained about that ad, although the ASA failed to uphold those complaints. So there you go, people singing while eating is far more offensive than a bunch of cloned German car-designers beating the crap out of one another.
Not seen the ad? Or just want to enjoy it again? Then check out the full length version below.