Ad Nut
Sep 3, 2018

DDB Sydney declares that all vans are just big boxes

Volkswagen Crafter gets the basic approach.

DDB Sydney declares that all vans are just big boxes

Pointing out the patently obvious in simple, no-nonsense terms can be extremely funny, but it’s a dangerous gambit. Unless an observational joke is deployed with a sufficient amount of creativity, it comes off as lazy and banal. If you need a frame of reference for the latter, think back to the brickwall-backdropped 'What’s the deal with airline food' school of comedy from the early '90s and try to resist cringing.

This leads to why Ad Nut has such mixed feelings about the latest offering from DDB Sydney for the Volkswagen Crafter.

The ad’s obvious realisation? “White vans. They’re kind of boxy and all look the same, don’t they?”

Yup. Yup they do. *Crickets chirp*

To be fair there are the seeds of something delightfully absurdist on display. Kudos to the DDB Sydney team for going through the trouble of designing a ridiculous box cover for the Volkswagen Crafter. It is a wonderfully silly visual as it zooms about on its business, while the faux review focuses all attention on the actual user features that a van driver would care about rather than its aesthetics.

Yes, they make a good point, the looks of a van are indeed meaningless compared to how good it is at moving items from point A to point B. The problem is that everybody knows that, and unless you’re willing to take that core idea and ramp the gag all the way up to 11, you aren’t going to end up with something that’s extremely funny or memorable. What’s frustrating is that this piece of work could have been a sizzling send-up when it’s basically just...fine.

As a final note for marketers, you can’t come up with a beat-for-beat equivalent of “They’re boxy but good” and not make Ad Nut think about the worst/best film about advertising (Ad Nut has a very old VHS collection in the old oak tree).


Marketing Manager: Nick Reid
Product Marketing Manager: Regine Zschernig
Chief Creative Officer: Ben Welsh
Creative Partner: Jade Manning
Creative Partner: Vincent Osmond
Senior Art Director: Nicolas Smith
Senior Copywriter: Damian Martinez
Art Director: Hannah King
Copywriter: Chris Ott
Managing Partner: Amanda Wheeler
Managing Partner: Nick Russo
Senior Business Director: Astrid Noble
Business Manager: Luke Thistleton
Planning Partner: Graham Sweet
Head of Integrated Content: Sevda Cemo
Senior Producer: Jess Belgiovane
Senior Producer: Tash Johnson
Senior Print Producer: John Wood
Senior Designer: Ramon Rodriguez
Designer: Tim Prosser
Senior Finished Artist: Jose Rodrigues
Senior Digital Producer: Tania Hoang
Senior Web Designer: Berengere Sottas
Production Co: Scoundrel Projects
EP: Kate Gooden
EP: Adrian Shapiro
Director: James Dive
DOP: Rob Marsh
Production Designer: Enzo Iacono
Post: White Chocolate
Producer: Chris Grocott
VFX Supervisor: David Mosqueda
Colourist: Trish Cahill
Photography: Sam I Am
Photographer: Janyon Boshoff
Producer: Kate Forster
Retoucher: Cameron Jones
Media agency: PHD Sydney

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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