VW has always done some really nice advertising. They remain one of the few companies who really has understood that what differentiates them is their product’s brand character and not really their features (or the lack thereof).

What I mean by that is while they will talk about a sometimes quirky appearance or how much gas mileage a VW owner can get from their product (a feature) … a feature, by the way, that everyone is talking about so it is all kind of a blur to everyone watching … they decide to talk about their features within what seems to be a very well defined brand character.

In other words they highlight a feature but do it in such a charming brand personality driven way that it becomes distinct.

And entertaining.

And fun to watch.

And, frankly, just makes you feel darn good about a VW.

If you own a VW you end up saying “hey, did you see that VW tv commercial?” (and feel great that it is your ‘brand’).

And if you don’t own a VW you actually chuckle and get what they were really trying to say (and maybe the next time you are in the market for a car you may take a look at a VW for no other particular reason then you feel good when you think VW).

The most recent example of what I have seen that speaks to gas mileage but does it in a very VW way. In fact it was this tv commercial that made me decide to write this post. Very well done. Clever. And VW to its core.

Vamanos:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsTqGa2gd0E

And, of course, the VW Darth Vader tv commercial is spectacularly charming.

And it is the penultimate example of how do differentiate based on brand character.

I struggle to envision how some agencies would even present an idea so brand character driven … let alone the fact that most of car manufacturers wouldn’t even produce it.

The advertising, even more than selling a car, is a reflection of the company and brand itself. Envision the fact that almost 50 seconds of the entire 1 minute commercial has nothing to do with the car itself. And, yet, the advertising is unequivocally associated with VW.

Darth VW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R55e-uHQna0

And then a commercial that involves a slice of ordinary life which everyone can relate to.

Somehow in this commercial they covered pretty much any and every one who could possibly be considered in their potential demographic profile by finding something similar within everyone’s life … that moment when we sing to ourselves.

Rocket Man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWy-LCGDsd8&NR=1


Ever since Bill Bernbach infamously touted a VW Beetle in a print advertisement as a “Lemon” VW has maintained a sense of believability and charm and understanding that communicating product ‘truths’ within an honest brand character can create value in people’s minds.

Are VW’s REALLY better than other cars? Nope.

Is there another car brand that REALLY makes the same kind of self-image statement about its owner? Nope.

Others may make different statements (Jaguar, Porsche, Ford trucks, etc.) about their owners but not the same as a VW.

Good stuff.


And you know how I know they understand their brand so well?

Doesn’t matter who their advertising agency is (DDB, Crispin, Deutsch) the advertising remains good.

That is a sign of a company that understands what is important.

Written by Bruce