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Rock Street, San Francisco

Obviously sound was also used contrast noise with silence. The sound track was courtesy of Billie Holiday, the lyrics are as follows: “Them that’s got, shall have. Them that’s not, shall use. So the Bible says, and it’s still is news. Momma may have, Papa may have, But God bless the child that’s got his own.” Billie Holiday was a popular back jazz singer in the 1950s. Her calm, laid back and easygoing voice, singing these bitter lyrics reinforces the contrast between calm and chaos.

Billie Holiday was used to suggest that anyone could “achieve” the car just as Billie Holiday achieved success in a racist society, that not just the privileged could have the privilege of the car, just as the unprivileged Billie Holiday had the privilege of singing in Carnegie Hall. By using Billie Holiday, the cultural diversity of the advert was also increased, once again maintaining the largest possible range of potential buyers. The song has a very slow tempo, creating a calm feeling, this is of great contrast to the chaos in the streets, and helps emphasise the tranquillity and safety of the car.

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To further emphasise this contrast of the noise in the streets and the silence in the car, multiple sources of sound tracks have been added, such as the man ranting on about judgement day, and the police officer blowing his whistle. These were actual live sounds recorded on the streets of New York. These sounds combined with the montage effect, causes the viewers to feel agitated while the girl is outside of the car, and then calm when she is inside, making them associate the Passat with this calm feeling.

This calm feeling is reinforced with the fact that the advert has been filmed in black and white. This gives adds style and class to the commercial as well as giving it a vintage effect. It also encourages the viewer to relate it to documentaries, making the commercial seem more truthful. The advert is effective, in that it does promote the Volkswagen Passat as a safe and reliable family car, and I do believe that some families, after watching the advert, went out and purchased a Passat.

The media has an incredible amount of control over our lives; they have the power to form peoples’ opinions on not just a product, but a whole subject. They have the power to tell us what is cool and what is not, what we should watch, what we should say, and what we should wear. Why would “what we should buy” and “what we should drive” be any different? The 1989 Volkswagen Passat advertising campaign did successfully convinced people that the Passat was a safe and reliable car, and made a marked increase on sales. This proves that the advert was effective, and caused families after watching the advert to go out and purchase a Passat.

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