Branding, hippies and the NFL

Watching my Seahawks play the Cardinals last night, I was struck by Volkswagen’s latest ad campaign. Perhaps taking a page out of Subaru’s “love promise” – pitching its brand over products – the German automaker is pledging to put “people first.”

The spot features hippies cramming into a 1960s VW microbus during a rain storm. Stuck in the mud, some other bohemians driving a VW Beetle hop out to help push their new-found friends out of a jam. It’s got a very Woodstock vibe to it, with Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help from My Friends” playing in the background. The ad concludes with a new “People First” warranty.

Volkswagen is doing something very intentional, and ­– in my opinion – rightfully so.

Do you remember how the automaker cheated pollution emissions testing in 2015? Global sales fell 2% in the wake of the emissions scandal. This year, however, sales are up 9.2% as they bring vigor back to the brand. They are reminding drivers why you fell in love with Volkswagen in the first place.

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