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VW Checks Our Egos
Friday, October 27, 2006

As I leafed through the October issue of Esquire I was quick to see a small booklet attached to one page. It was something called The Ego Emissions Index, which, in actuality, turned out to be a huge ad for Volkswagen. What the German automaker did was give an Ego Emissions ranking to damn near everything on earth, from cars, to food, to jobs, to cities, with one being the lowest and 100 being the highest. In the above picture Paul Wall’s grill piece netted a 98, while inside a paperclip earned a one. The first thing I did, well, the first thing I did after playing the glue that attaches booklets to magazine pages, was see what kind of ego I was emitting. Turns out VW thinks I’m an asshole. Thanks, jerkfaces! Then I noticed something else, I noticed what VW was ranking themselves and how this ad campaign can backfire on them (no pun intended) very easily. First thing’s first, though, before I get to VW, let’s see what kind of ego I’m emitting (hmmm, you think putting me first probably ranks pretty high on the Ego Emissions Index?).

Since VW is a car company this first thing I did was check out my car’s Ego Emissions. This got tricky because my car’s make, Subaru, has a ranking of 51 while my model, Legacy, has a ranking of only 36. I guess the WRX is what bumps Subaru up so high. So OK, my car is fairly low ego. Next I hit up occupations, which featured both my job and my hobby, both of which have two of the highest Ego Emissions ratings in the entire booklet. My job, journalist, has a rating of 91 (which I find odd since editor is only at 76. Oh yeah, that’s right an editor probably edited this booklet. That explains that). My hobby, working out, or bodybuilding as it’s listed here, comes in at 97. Throw in the fact that I live near NYC (91), have a second degree black belt in karate (71) and love baseball (57) and it becomes pretty clear that VW thinks I’m an egomaniac. With that in mind I said to myself, gee, I wonder what kind of things Volkswagen is associating themselves with since they clearly don’t want my business since I’m far too egotistical for them based on their own rankings. This is where things got interesting.

The Passat, which is the car this booklet is technically advertising, earned an Ego Emissions ranking of seven. That’s right, I said seven. My occupation, according to VW, has thirteen times the ego of their car. So who, pray tell, has the right ego to be pushing a Passat? According to their own rankings, no one. Yup, everyone has more ego than their car. The closest rankings to the Passat as far as people go are nincompoop’s (13) and slackers (14). Buy a Passat, it’s the car of nincompoops!

Rankings were also given in a myriad of other categories that, ironically enough, continue to make the car this is supposed to be advertising for look like crap. In the animal world the closest Ego Emitters are dirt (13), algae (16) and slugs (17). Buy a Passat, be a nincompoop slug! Things get even funnier when one turns to the transportation page. Passat is a seven, a bus ticket is a five and a wheelbarrow is a nine. The Passat, it’s better than a bus ticket, but not quite as pimpin as being pushed in a wheelbarrow. I wonder if that wheelbarrow is sittin on a 22 inch rim?

Saving the best for last, The Ego Emissions Index also featured a health section. Now remember, VW is advertising that their car is a seven, meaning it has very little ego to it. That being said, in the health section baldness is the only thing that comes in lower, earning a three. Nose hair (13) and canker sore (19) both, according to VW, emit more ego than their car. Or, as I like to put it; Buy a Passat, it’s the car of nincompoop slugs with canker sores. Err, wait a minute, that nincompoop slug with canker sores is still too egotistical to drive the Passat. Oh well.

OK, so I know what VW meant to say with this listing, that their car has no ego, that it’s not flashy and by owning it you’re supposedly showing that you’re not trying to prove a point. BUT, by virtue of buying it to show you’re not trying to prove a point aren’t you trying to prove that point, and isn’t that just as bad as someone rockin an iced out grill piece? Maybe, maybe not, but one thing’s for sure, if you have any ego at all you’ll see the connections VW has made to some of the lowest forms of life, health and occupation on earth and it doesn’t take a high Ego Emissions to not want to drive the nose hair of automobiles.

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posted by Adam Bernard @ 8:26 AM  
  • At 1:41 PM, Anonymous ariel said…

    I laughed all the way through this post. I'm totally looking for that advertisement now.

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