German Lessons With Claudia Schiffer

Opel blew the budget on Ms. Schiffer, because there’s certainly nothing left for anything else. You know, like production values, creativity, wit …

Confusing isn’t it Claudia? You are, the Astra isn’t. Got it? Image: autoevolution

I feel for Claudia, I really do. Times must be tough in the Schiffer household, because she really must have needed the money for this. Each time this advertising spot airs, I fight the urge to hurl the nearest available blunt object TV-wards. Surely no advertising agency with a shred of dignity would willingly put their name to drivel of this magnitude, yet someone did. Did they start with the tagline, and work back from there?

What does it mean anyway? ‘It’s a German’. It makes no apparent sense. Surely a car cannot be a German – after all, wouldn’t this denote sentience? Opel can’t be suggesting their cars are not only paragons of reliability but capable of independent thought? That they are in fact, the living automotive embodiment of the statuesque Ms. Schiffer?

Because if indeed my new Opel Astra is ‘a German‘, or indeed an approximation of Claudia Schiffer cast in metal, glass and thermoplastics, I think I’d appreciate some guidance as to what sort of life adjustments that might entail on a day-to-day basis. I’m guessing there would be a few.

[I’m leaving space here for you to insert a hilarious German stereotype of your own choosing. I couldn’t think of any and frankly I don’t see why I have to do all the work round here – especially on a Sunday…]

Now I could go on about the turgid dialogue, the frankly ridiculous set up where two millennials discuss moisturiser, beard maintenance, the price of sourdough bread these days and their recent dreams over a coffee, while their wives/girlfriends are out bearbaiting or watching the footie down the pub, but frankly, I have neither the energy nor inclination. I will however add as a postscript that Astra sales fell 10% last year. I hope they’re pleased with themselves.

You may be able to find the offending clip on the web, but if not, consider yourselves fortunate.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

11 thoughts on “German Lessons With Claudia Schiffer”

  1. That is a very clunky ad. Fairly or unfairly the editing suggests that Ms Schiffer can’t turn in her chair and speak dialogue at the same time. Was it screened in Ireland? The voice over is, oddly, an English accent, although obviously it wasn’t made for the UK.

    However, the message that it is a ‘German’ car is certainly worth making, all the more so in the UK where Vauxhall are surely hampered by the fact that many people don’t think that. This morning, out of interest I did a crude survey walking down the South London street opposite my home. Of 60 cars, 40 were indisputably German, being VWs, Audis, Porsches, Mercedes and BMWs. All were monochrome except for a single, cheering, orange A1.

    But in the 20 cars that were ‘non-German’ brands I included MINI and Skoda, as well as Ford and Vauxhall. Also Aston Martin and JLR. I really think GM would do better in the UK if they dumped Vauxhall and started selling German Opels.

  2. That ad is painful to watch. Goodness. Apart from the awful editing, the ad draws people´s attention to the “problem” (supposedly reliability). It´s okay to reassure people but in advertising never mention the worry. Just say how well made it is and leave the viewer to infer this means it won´t break down much. Imagine an ad for a hotel that started “At the Dorville Hotel. We won´t put poison in your food…We adhere strictly to the regulations on hostelry.” That´s what Opel did with this ad. Also, it is categorically wrong to say the car won´t break down. Everything can break down. Strewth. Opel´s cars are fine but the advertising strategy is cack handed. Eoin, never make us watch an ad this bad again, please.

  3. Aside from all its other faults: Claudia Schiffer? Really? Didn’t know she was still in business…

  4. Actually, when I think of all those fun / outlaw ads for Corsas and Adams, their advertising is generally pretty crap. I believe Simon is a great fan of Ms S.

    1. “I dreamed that the Xsara broke down and Claudia Schiffer was there”

      Cut to Claudia Schiffer in dirty overalls. Cut again to Claudia Schiffer in dirty overalls

      “That was no dream Sonny, and I’m still trying to get that bloody starter motor free.”

  5. I suspect this ad was made deliberately bad – although, perhaps I just fervently hope it was. It does appear nowadays that advertisers and agencies are engaged in some mad race to the bottom. Coincidentally, the supermodel trope in advertising is rivalled only by the regular use of film actresses, like the EuroRSCG masterpiece for the Peugeot 406 from about 1998, starring Kim Basinger. With about ten times the budget, they also managed to make a gigantic pile of steaming ordure. You’ll find it on youtube if you feel you have the stomach for it.

    Back to this ad: I agree that both the fact that it’s German and that it’s reliable are two points worth making if you’re Opel. This however is a master class in how not to make it. If anyone knows who the agency is, I’d love to know. And yes Sean, it is on rotation on Irish TV. Mercifully, as I’m currently on the Irish Sea en-route to Blighty, I will be spared further viewings.

  6. I assume the clunky edit from turning in her chair to close up talking is so that the multi-lingual Ms S can intone the qualified lie in a different language for each market. This, of course, would have made it possible to produce a UK version where she said ‘Vauxhalls don’t break down’ but of course they can’t because we remain the only market that is in inexplicable denial of the car’s origins.

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