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Some people have no sense of humor. Take Volkswagen, for instance.

The automaker is incensed over a parody commercial currently making the rounds on the internet that The Guardian describes as follows:

The short film is made in the style of a TV advert and shows a man hopping into the car wearing the distinctive check scarf made famous by the late Yasser Arafat. He drives around a city before blowing himself up - apparently killing himself but leaving the car intact outside a restaurant. Then the slogan, "Polo: small but tough", appears.


Tasteless? Sure. Well executed (so to speak)? Extremely.

If you have a high tolerance for stereotypes and morbid humor, you can watch the clip here (via, Ad Freak).

For those with long memories, VW's complaint (and threats of legal action) may call to mind one of the Holy Grails of print comedy: National Lampoon's 1973 ad parody that shows a VW Bug floating in water with the slogan If Teddy Kennedy drove a Volkswagen, He'd be President Today. We'd link to a scan of this ad, but, well, it's been redacted from the face of the earth.

As Nat Lamp savant Mark Simonson recounts it in the Answers section of his "Very Large National Lampoon Site," the ad:

[W]as in the National Lampoon Encyclopedia of Humor (1973). It's listed in the contents page (under D) as "Doyle Dane Bernbach" and was written by Anne Beatts. If you buy a copy of this issue, you may find the ad is missing. As a result of a lawsuit by VW over the ad for unauthorized use of their trademark, NatLamp was forced to remove the page (with razor blades!) from any copies they still had in inventory (which, from what I gather, was about half the first printing of 250,000 copies) and all subsequent reprints. For what its worth, Ted Kennedy didn't sue.


Sheesh! Lighten up, Volkswagen. You're almost as serious as the guy who helped develop the original beetle.

Update: Ask and ye shall receive: National Lampoon's VW parody ad. (You can read the text at Curmudgeonly & Skeptical.)

Spoof suicide bomber ad sparks global row [Guardian UK]
Answers [Mark's Very Large National Lampoon Site]
VW suicide-bomber viral spot a hoax [Ad Freak]