Volkswagen’s Heart-Tugging Dad-Daughter Ad

Previously published on HyperVocal

It’s heartening to see men in car commercials behave like stand-up human beings rather than idiots who can’t tell a woman from a Fiat. Volkswagen’s new 90-second spot for the “small but tough” Polo centers on a father’s doting relationship with his daughter as she grows up, learns to pedal, goes on dates and, finally, gets the car keys.

Nice to see that advertisers are finally discovering this new, remarkable world where fathers are active parents rather than perpetually befuddled, gym-shorts-wearing dinguses whose biggest concern is not buying soda that’s for women.

Good on you, VW. You’ve consistently led the way in geeky, memorable, high-road, feel-good advertising.

You may be totally manipulating my manly impulse to protect and provide for my kin, but advertising ismanipulation, and I would prefer that you not insult my intelligence, thanks.

Music: the lovely, Beach House–y “Whispers & Stories” by sound designers Sniffy Dog.

Read more from Cooper on HyperVocal, here.



About Cooper Fleishman

Cooper Fleishman is managing editor of After graduating from Kenyon College in 2009, he moved to New York to follow his dream of book-publishing glory. Once here, he sold dog food on the street and copyedited celebrity-gossip tabloids, finally landing as senior editor of the Good Men Project, where he served for a year before sneaking into HyperVocal. Email: Twitter: @_cooper.


  1. Like Eric M, I too have done just about everything in the ad, 3X. Although, when the boys came too the door, I did tend to terrify them slightly(So they told me years later). I think it might have something to do with answering the door with a running chain saw in my hand. (Hey, you’ve got to admit, it made an impression with them) True story!

  2. Transhuman says:

    I think both ads are fantastic, there should be more like them.

  3. michael says:

    The one I like best is where the father is talking to the 6 year old behind the wheel, telling her to be careful when she drives. At first you are like ‘whaaaaaat?’ Then finally he hands her the keys and she is 17 or 18 years old. Beautiful commercial. And yeah almost makes up for the decades of men/dads befuddled about everything from dishwashers to cell phone to using the internet to travel vacations, always with some condescending woman correcting him.

  4. Not sure i’ve ever seen a better car ad. Or a more accurate portrayal of fathers (as I see fathers all around me), in an ad than this. Lovely.

  5. Damn. This made me tear up.

  6. Eric M. says:

    Very sweet. I’ve done most of that, including hiding their eyes when the kissing/make-out scenes come on — except my girls are quite old enough to drive or date but the day will come.

    However, the Subaru commercial with the dad admonishing his daughter does about the same thing in 30 seconds. It’s been out for a couple years and still runs because it’s so great.

    Now, how about a father/son version of the same?

  7. I suspect that they would never run this ad in the US, as evidenced in part by the fact that they haven’t yet.

    Not that it doesn’t exist there, but the UK, and every other civilized place on Earth, seems to have a less ingrained macho culture that advertisers feel they have to cater to. Who could see that Dr. Pepper Special Product for Men ad running in the UK?

    Can’t help thinking that something about this country is particularly suited to the denigrating image of the slathering man-child male ideal. I’d love to see us represented as above, but I’m not holding my breath.

  8. My favorite ad is still the star wars one!

  9. Lauren Hale says:

    Wow. What a fantastic ad. You’re right – it is nice to see advertising acknowledging the important role fathers play and doing so respectfully, even if it is sheer marketing. Brilliant.

Speak Your Mind