Volkswagen’s tall woman ad: actually brilliant

“I like your tallness columns,” said my friend Scott, namer of this blog and avuncular uncle of the internet. “What do you think of the new tall lady dating car advert?”

I heaved a sigh that fell messily somewhere on my keyboard in a “Oh what?” sort of shape. I’d just posted my fortnightly Tall Girl Treat column on Domestic Sluttery – about body confidence. Tall women in adverts, beyond supermodels, generally don’t fare well. Like any unusual body shape they are a prop for a joke.

Actually, I adored this advert! Well done Volkswagen. Let’s have a look at it.

They’ve done so much right!

  • She has bothered to do her hair nicely.
  • She stands up straight.
  • She wears well-fitting clothes and nice heels.
  • SHE STANDS UP STRAIGHT.
  • She’s confident and, basically, a person.
  • I adored the bit where she is standing in front of a shop window smiling dreamily at heels before plumping resignedly for really boring flats.
  • AND the bit where she’s sharing an umbrella and constantly having her head bumped against the top of it.

The only thing that didn’t ring true was the look of disappointment and worry on her short dates’ faces when she climbed up a step, or met them. Way back in sixth form, my boyfriend of two years was much shorter than me. In punk-adoring Hampshire we wore similar clothes, had long hair and were frequently chatted up as a lesbian couple. Of the short men I have dated since, none of them has given a toss about my height. Funnily enough, it’s always been tall ones who’ve minded if I show up in heels.

Ultimately though, the girl in the advert found Her Person. And if they’re the right one, it doesn’t matter what height they are.

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10 thoughts on “Volkswagen’s tall woman ad: actually brilliant

  1. Love the bit where she smiles with relief at the end when they shake hands and have to say think she’s absolutely beautiful!

  2. Kat – I love your post and your generosity, I’m afraid I gave this advert considerably shorter (no pun intended) shrift!

    I do completely agree that she’s painted as a lovely, attractive person overall, and I loved the umbrella moment (after a lifetime of suffering the same thing) but the implication that she wouldn’t consider any of the men shorter than her regardless of their personalities, sense of humour, kindness levels etc and that all she was looking for was someone taller than her, just dicked me off a bit.

    It is actually really nice to read your positive reading of it because I know I’m over-reacting but I think it just reminds me of how sad it’s made me hearing so many times how many women will automatically rule out men who are shorter than them (or with a large height discrepancy – @blonde!). It just seems such a mental attitude to think that a partner’s relative height has any actual real effect on your relationship, or on the potential for one. Seriously – what do they do, sit there thinking ‘god, you’re so….taller than me’? What do they tell their friends – “He’s lovely, he’s just so…..taller than me”? “We have such an amazing time because…he’s taller than me”? “He makes me laugh so much because he’s……taller than me”?

    Ok, I admit I’m going a bit far (Friday bank holiday fever), but it’s something that’s irked me over the years.

    Good post though, and thanks again for the positivity!

    • Whoah – yes, I have to say that if I’d read it like that I would have thought that she was a complete numpty. I suppose that is very true. I just read it as none of the blokes liked HER rather than the other way around! And yes, her automatically ending up with someone taller was a bit trite, but it had to stand out from the rest of her dates for impact.

      I was clearly overflowing with positivity (slash: relief!) when I saw this first and how they drew her. Thank god she didn’t HUNCH!

      • As a fellow tall-ish girl, I also loved this advert. I am, however, one of those girls who finds it a little difficult to go out with men shorter than me. I like wearing heels, I like standing up straight and, shallow as this sounds, I like feeling small next to a guy instead some form of monstrous giant.

  3. Its only an add, its funny and it probably happens like that sometimes……….but it is just an add. One thing is certain you will remember the name “Volkswagen”. Finally we dont know she threw them over it may have been them.

  4. Amyuncorked hit the nail on the head. Who’s to say that tomorrow she isn’t in some horrific accident and has to be carted around in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Wonder if the height difference would matter so much then. The advert is offense on numerous levels as it suggest that someone of a different stature would make them inadequate. You can be a jerk at any height!

  5. I’m a short guy and although i am generally confident and i have no major issues with my height i do find this advert offensive. Think about this….what if it was a guy who always turning up to blind dates to see overweight women and being disappointed and then on the final date meeting someone slim? Imagine the amount of complaints from women…….

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