When Volkswagen and MTV booked the Black Eyed Peas to headline their joint World Stage event Monday night at Manhattan's Terminal 5, they probably thought the band would tout the new third-generation Beetle. Little did they know that in addition to the car, will.i.am would end up endorsing . . . well, commerce.
Introducing the group's 2003 hit "Where Is the Love," the always advertising-friendly frontman dedicated it to "every single American corporation" for creating jobs—an odd but not inappropriate comment at a show sponsored by a German carmaker with a recently opened American assembly plant in Tennessee. The concert is set to appear on MTV’s main channel on April 22nd, after being netcast live on the network’s "World Stage" website, which was also heavily branded by Volkswagen as part of its ongoing new Beetle campaign.
Volkswagen has shown a penchant for teaming up with TV networks to promote new products. There were similar unveilings of the Beetle on Monday in Berlin and Shanghai, which with the Terminal 5 extravaganza served as teasers for a formal rollout of the model when it's ready to hit dealerships in the fall. Volkswagen’s global marketing director Luca de Meo gave a short speech at the Manhattan afterparty in which he described the show as “one of the most successful media events ever” for the car manufacturer in the U.S.