Volkswagen not only makes safe, reliable, and attractive cars, but they also hold a special skill for finding innovative ways to market them. While many automakers opt for the more traditional, yet blander and straightforward route, Volkswagen has always had a sense of humor, even at the expense of their own vehicles. Here are just a few of the best Volkswagen advertising campaigns over the years that people still seem to remember.
1. The Darth Vader Kid
The 2011 Super Bowl may strike up some great memories for Packers’ fans, but for those that weren’t interested in the game, the Volkswagen Darth Vader Kid commercial took home the MVP. In this humorous, yet adorable ad, a child dressed as Darth Vader walks around the house, repeatedly trying to use the Force to lift objects like a washer, a doll, and a dog. Towards the end of the commercial, his dad arrives home in the new Volkswagen Passat. When mini Vader tries to lift the car, his watchful father hits the key fob, causing the car to spring to life. When the kid sees what happens, his reaction is priceless.
2. It’s Easy to Push
The internet is slowly fading out most of the print media in the world, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing (the real golden age of this marketing era was in the 1960s anyway). For Volkswagen, that peak was probably 1962. One of their most famous ads featured a man pushing a Volkswagen Beetle with the caption: “And if you run out of gas, it’s easy to push.”
Today, most companies would frown upon a campaign presenting their car as wimpy, but in this bold, yet hilarious statement, you realize that Volkswagen is simply stating the obvious. There’s no run around and no hint of fibbing. The funniest part is perhaps that this same type of advertisement would probably work on Millennials over 50 years later.
3. Trailer Assist
In a commercial from Norway, Volkswagen wanted to boast about their new trailer assist technology, and they did it in an inconspicuous, yet eye-catching way. Using some of the roads around Oslo, a trailer appears attached to a Volkswagen as it goes in reverse around the city. If you’ve ever tried driving a trailer in reverse, you know how difficult it is. As people watch in amazement and disbelief, one person finally gets to peak in the trailer and realizes that the driver was actually inside. Still, Volkswagen got their point across in a unique and creative fashion.
4. Don’t Trust the Old Lady
The Volkswagen Golf is one of the top-selling cars worldwide for its performance, fuel economy, and handling. So when Volkswagen released a funny ad in the Netherlands, it was more about pushing the race car-like abilities of the car. During this commercial, a father and son are inspecting a car they’re going to buy from an old lady. Out of nowhere, the camera pans to the old lady, which shows her reminiscing about driving the car in a most daredevil fashion. After they shake and the son drives away, all you’re left with is a slogan that says, “You cannot trust every old lady, but you can trust every Golf.”
As the largest car manufacturer in the world, Volkswagen is obviously doing something right. While it’s probably the car, some might argue that the marketing campaigns put it a step above the rest. Plus, no one wants to take themselves that seriously.