You know what's really freaking cute? Laughing babies. You know what's also cute? Laughing old people. You know what's not quite as cute, but still pretty heartwarming? Laughing anyone. And that's exactly what Volkswagen and Deutsch LA are giving us in this first TV spot in the "Why VW" campaign, appropriately titled "Smiles."
The 30-second commercial shows snippets of "real people"—in order of age, from babies to kids to adults to seniors—laughing uncontrollably, with nary a car in sight. The spot's end line, "It's not the miles, it's how you live them," pushes a consumer-over-product message. The idea that a car company can elicit such an emotional response can seem forced, but coming from VW, it doesn't feel inauthentic—the brand has already produced plenty of smiles with a lineup of endearing vehicles (the Beetle, the Bus) and campaigns (from the classic "Think small" series to 2011's "The Force").
In addition to airing the spot during the fall sitcom premieres, VW is hoping to lighten the mood of the current election cycle by making a "significant media buy" on political programming, from the presidential debates (which could really benefit from a few smiling faces) to Comedy Central's Indecision 2012 lineup.
The spot points to a new website, whyvw.com, which presents a new way of organizing content—it groups VW content side by side with select consumer content about the brand. It's divided in two sections: Values and Stories. The Values section contains information about VW products, including five short films starring real VW owners that address the company's core values, like quality, safety, value, environment and performance. The Stories section, housed on VW.com and Facebook, features user-generated content and select personal stories shared by consumers.
With luck, some of the stories will make your smile, too.
Executive Vice President, Chief Product and Marfketing Officer: Tim Mahoney
Vice President, Marketing: Kevin Mayer
General Manager, Brand and Marketing Communications: Justin Osborne
Advertising Manager: Jeff Sayen
Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles
Chief Creative Officer: Mark Hunter
Group Creative Directors: Michael Kadin, Matt Ian
Associate Creative Director: Brian Friedrich
Senior Art Director: Ryan McLaughlin
Art Director: Mike Palese
Copywriter: Amir Farhang
Executive Integrated Producer: Jim Haight
Director of Integrated Production: Vic Palumbo
Director of Broadcast Production: Victoria Guenier
Associate Director of Business Affairs: Gabriela Farias
Production Company: Epoch Films
Executive Producer: Lisa Margulis
Head of Production: Megan Murphree
Line Producer: Pat Harris
Editorial Company: Spot Welders
Editor: Haines Hall
Assistant Editor: Glenn Teel
Executive Producer: David Glean
Producer: Shada Shariatzadeh
Telecine, Postproduction Facility: Co3
Color: Dave Hussey