When Crispin, Porter + Bogusky launched their first work for Volkswagen since winning the account from Arnold I was a little underwhelmed. I sorta liked the idea behind the devilish “Fast” but it didn’t come together in the end, seeming creepy and un-VW.
I am not the only one who thought that it wasn’t working.
But, as a client that believes in its agency should, Volkswagen gave Crispin a chance to take another crack at it. They came out with the pleasant spot for the Rabbit and in that and subsequent ads seemed to be getting the hang of this VW brand thing.
The newest campaign for the brand has just launched, stars “Max” the 1964 Beetle. Tim Ellis, Volkswagen’s VP of Marketing considers Max to be “a lovable icon that everyone will know and relate to.” I’ll let you decide if Max lives up to the billing.
The new campaign is part of a push by the German carmaker to sell 1 million cars in the United States this year and will support the launch of several new vehicles including the Tiguan crossover SUV, Routan minivan, Passat CC, clean diesel Jetta TDI and Jetta SportWagen.
The campaign launched during March Madness with a spot featuring Max and legendary basketball coach Bob Knight (who, strangely, looks exactly like my grandpa):
The category norm for telling consumers that your car won a reliability award is to show said car driving thrillingly around a curvy road while pulling a see and say to emphasize the reliability point. An area for a :5 dealer tag later, that’s a wrap.
So kudos for Crispin in not following convention.
They also did a good job directing Bob Knight; at least in my experience professional athletes and coaches are as engaging in front of the camera as a 2×4 but they have managed to make it work. The dry way that he runs through the script even makes it more amusing.
Will this idea help to sell a million cars? I don’t know. It doesn’t reach the heady creative heights of the best VM ads from DDB and Arnold, but maybe all VW needs right now is to hit consumers over the head with the fact that they are past their reliability issues of earlier this decade.
And if you’re hitting someone over the head, Bob Knight is the guy to do it. Har har.