VW Taps Brooke Shields for Routan Minivan Ads

Actress Brooke Shields will appear in a series of ads for Volkswagen’s Routan minivan starting in October, as the brand continues to solicit celebrities to promote its products.

In a promotional four-and-a-half-minute video, Shields refers to a “Routan boom,” where there is a dramatic rise in children being born to families that believe they have to have more children to justify the purchase of “German engineering,” or a Routan. Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Miami, handles.

Shields has represented a number of products, most famously Calvin Klein jeans in the early ’80s. Over the years, the 43-year-old actress has spoken out for various causes, such as Chain of Confidence, a group devoted to helping at-risk young women, and a series of anti-smoking PSAs. She has also represented Colgate, Jones New York and Dolce & Gabbana, among others. Shields currently stars on NBC’s show Lipstick Jungle.

The Routan will target married couples under the age of 45 with at least one child under the age of 6, and having two or more children. The target household income is $75,000 and over.

Volkswagen declined to discuss any elements of its Routan campaign.

In May, Volkswagen launched an initiative as part of which the automaker deposits $1,500 into a college account for customers who make a down payment through Upromise, a subsidiary of student loan provider Sallie Mae. The contribution is posted with Upromise and then placed into an interest-bearing 529 savings account. The money also can be withdrawn.

The campaign has fared poorly, however, according to dealers. VW’s gm of marketing, Brian Thomas, said that promotion has landed between 20 and 30 takers.

“We have never offered a minivan before,” said Thomas. “What our job is in marketing this is to let consumers know that Volkswagen is an option. There are defaults, such as Toyota, Honda and Chrysler. But for us, coming to the category for the first time, it is critical to signal that we understand [consumers’] values.”

The brand hopes to sell 40,000 Routans. “We are not trying to sell 100,000 of them,” said Richard Fisher, chairman of the Volkswagen National Dealer Council. “But it is a vehicle that we will be able to sell.”

Some of the new spots will continue to use Max, the talking Beetle appearing in brand ads earlier this year. Volkswagen’s Max ads also featured a number of other celebrities, including David Hasselhoff and Heidi Klum.

Volkswagen sales are pacing even this year, per Autodata, Woodcliff Lake, N.J., while the minivan category is down 19.5%.