The Ellipsis

While I created this blog to focus on music it is not the sole focus of my passions. That is, in part, why I’ve been less active in the last couple months. A spotty internet connection has kept me away from the computer and off doing other things. It was during that downtime that I came up with the idea for this column, The Ellipsis. Like an ellipsis, this column will include all the things that Top of our Lungs wouldn’t normally cover. That is to say pretty much anything that isn’t music-oriented.

To get things started off, watch this video. (via YouTube)

That was funny, right? I certainly enjoyed it when it was in rotation a few months ago here in Ontario. It quick and witty, just what you want in a commercial. Unfortunately for Volkswagen, it was also overplayed and, as I usually do, I started to look past the laughs and started to thing about what was really being said.

Fundamentally, Volkswagen is making an analogy wherein spot and laser seam welding are akin to buttons and zippers. I probably didn’t need to explain that to you. The commercial did it quite well. They’re also making the point that zippers are stronger than buttons and the relative welding styles follow suit. Again, this is obvious.

I can’t fault the logic here. Undoubtedly, a continuous joint is stronger than a punctuated one. Imagine if the sutures that hold the bones of your skull together only connected intermittently. You’d suffer significant brain damage just by walking into a door frame.

The question that came to mind the 20th or 30th time I saw this commercial was this:

When has a car ever fallen apart at the seams?

Rust-related incidents aside, I certainly haven’t heard of it happening. Getting in a collision at high speeds, does a spot-welded frame shear apart like that poor salesman’s shirt? If so, it’s not been a threat to those in the vehicle or the technique would have been replaced decades ago. If the most basic component of your car can’t protect your customers inside it you’re not going to be in the business for very long.

Now there could be a whole wealth of benefits to using one form of weld over another. I’m not a welder and I don’t have any automotive expertise. Those benefits, if they exist, don’t matter anyway (but if you know of them, please share). This commercial is attesting that their frames are stronger, and they most certainly are, but are they really doing something worth shouting about?

Volkswagen identified something they do differently from the others and demonstrated it in an amusing manner. It’s a common trick for advertisers. “Look at what we’re doing. Nobody else is doing it so that makes us better.” Thanks for the laughs, Volkswagen, but don’t tell us you’re better just because you’re doing something differently.

Yes, it’s different. Yes, it’s more. But is it better? Is it even necessary? As Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor taught us sometimes more isn’t better. Sometimes more is just more.

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