Arnold Readies Ads For New VW Bug

Print Campaign Is Reminiscent of DDB’s Breakthrough ’60s Work
DETROIT–Arnold Communications’ ad campaign for Volkswagen of America’s New Beetle will be designed to evoke memories from consumers old enough to remember the original cars while being humorous enough to appeal to a younger crowd.
The TV and print campaign, scheduled to break in March, will be targeted at a broad audience. “[The car] is designed to appeal to people who fondly recall the past, as well as young people who have no connection at all to the original,” said Clive Warrilow, president and chief executive officer of VW of America.
Print concepts unveiled last week at the North American International Auto Show feature a small photo of the New Beetle against a white background, reminiscent of the classic “Think small” Beetle ads crafted in the 1960s and ’70s by the former Doyle Dane Bernbach.
Headlines on the new ads included: “The engine is in the front but its heart is in the same place,” “The world’s glass is half full again” and “See what happens when we all wish for the same thing?” Other executions–“Less flower. More power.” and “0 to 60? Yes.”–are intended for those who recall the limited performance of the original Beetle.
Ads will utilize VW’s current tag, “Drivers wanted,” said Steve Keyes, public relations director for VW. Sources said a new tagline, specifically for the New Beetle, was not considered.
Jens Neumann of VW’s board of management said pre-marketing observations indicated the ads should: “Simply show the car. don’t try to describe it, don’t explain features, don’t spoil individual dreams and memories by talking hardware.”
Arnold chief creative officer Ron Lawner declined to comment on the new work, except to say that a song being considered for one TV spot is “Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space” by the obscure experimental rock group Spiritualized. It is an indication that Arnold is searching for music as distinctive as Trio’s “Da Da Da,” used in the agency’s VW Golf spot.
VW will spend most of its $100 million-plus 1998 ad budget promoting the bug, said sources. The client hopes to sell 50,000 models this year.