Thursday, August 9, 2012

VW Beetle Meets the Sharks: lighthearted moment during Shark Week

In case you hadn't noticed, it's a nutty world at times.  So, to help preserve one's sanity, it helps to set aside some silly time.  Even when you take it with a grain of seriousness, silly is just that.  Silly.

And that holds true for even a somber subject like shark conservation.  You need those lighter moments just to recharge the batteries.  And so this year, for Discovery Channel's 25th year of Shark Week, they have teamed up with Volkswagen and the ubiquitous Beetle to broadcast a commercial during Shark Week that has my friend, marine biologist Luke Tipple, cruising the desert white sands of Tiger Beach in an underwater version of a VW Beetle shark cage.

Actually, a lot of time and effort went into the making of the craft - modeled after a Beetle turbo, and given the flat sandy area that is Tiger Beach, off the northwest corner of Grand Bahama, it was probably a lot of fun to toodle around in, powered by two underwater scooters.

Crass commercialism?  Oh, sure it is, but Discovery has bills to pay and Shark Week brings in huge ratings which can be music to the ears of advertisers.  Last year, Discovery partnered with Gillette on a commercial with two divers trying competing razors in shark cages.  Luke was also involved in that commercial, too. Fortunately, he was the one using the Gillette razor.  The other poor soul nicked himself with the competitor's blade and, well, you can imagine the commercial's implied outcome.  Another tongue-in-cheek departure from reality and it probably sold a few razors as well.

There's an interesting kharmic thread through all of this for me personally.  The first car I ever owned was a hand-me-down VW Beetle from my older brother.  I drove it for years through my Woodstock hippie days, my guitars and drums packed in back to fuel my passion for music.  Now, many years later I have grown another passion for the preservation of sharks and, lo and behold, who should return but that dome-shaped little icon from Deutschland. 

And the circle goes round and round.

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