Volkswagen of America has launched a new advertising campaign called
"Das Auto," which, for non-German-speakers, means "the car."
The campaign, which launched last week and was playing practically nonstop over the weekend, introduces the world to the company's new spokesvehicle Max, an iconic, quirky, talking 1964 black Beetle. In each spot, Max has candid conversations with notable figures from pop culture in a talk-show setting, with discussions that focus on Volkswagen's intuition on what it is the people want.
Guests include supermodel Heidi Klum (she makes Max blush), pop and TV personality David Hasselhoff (Max makes him blush), Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy, NASA astronaut Richard Searfoss (in his spacesuit), music-sharing innovator Shawn Fanning (weighing hip vs legal), and former basketball coach Bob Knight (Max makes him angry). The collection of 30-second spots will air throughout the month of April. I must have seen them at least a dozen times over the weekend, including the one with the hunky David Hasselhoff.
"Volkswagen has always occupied a unique and positive place in both American car culture and American popular culture. And the brand is as relevant today as it has ever been," says Tim Ellis, vice president of marketing at Volkswagen of America. "Max personifies Volkswagen's past, present and vision for the future. Through him, we will reconnect with American consumers and let them know how Volkswagen understands and responds to what the people want." Yep, 30 seconds at a time for each point.
Volkswagen says the "Das Auto" campaign and its spokesvehicle Max will be integrated directly into all aspects of the company's business in 2008, including support for five new model launches - the Tiguan compact SUV, Routan minivan, CC, clean diesel Jetta TDI and Jetta SportsWagen - and the existing lineup. Max will be the centerpiece during an introductory phase and then will take a backseat (haha, backseat!) to form the connective tissue for other product communications.
Already this year, Volkswagen claims it has attempted to deliver what it feels "the people want" through its products and recent announcements, including the following messages:
The people want to be safe:
In March 2008, Volkswagen officially became the first non-luxury car manufacturer to provide an Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) as standard equipment across its entire 2009 offering -- a full three years ahead of the national mandate. ESP works in conjunction with Anti-lock Braking and other safety systems and could save over 10,000 lives per year according to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The people want to be kind to the environment:
In mid-2008, Volkswagen will introduce the paradigm-shifting TDI Clean Diesel engine option in its 2008 Jetta sedan and SportsWagen models, which is the first 50-state legal diesel engine to provide extremely high fuel efficiency and class-leading carbon emission reductions.
The people want to celebrate their individuality:
2008 marks the 10th Anniversary of the New Beetle, a pop culture icon, which began selling in the U.S. in March 1998 and in 1999 was the last vehicle to win the Motor Trend Import Car of the Year Award.
For more information about Volkswagen and the "Das Auto" campaign, please visit www.vw.com. Volkswagen will also run an interactive polling program simultaneously at vw.com.
By Brandy Schaffels
AskPatty.com Editor, and lover of Volkswagens