Five television spots from Arnold Communications for Volkswagen of America's New Beetle evoke the spirit of the car's ads from the '60s and pairs it with special effects and some left-field music selections from the '90s.
Each commercial shows the car--and little else--on a white background. The ads are differentiated by the behavior of the car and the music (experimental rock from Spiritualized and ambient dub from The Orb, for instance). The spots break nationally on March 23.
One ad starts with a shimmering blue blob on a white screen. A caption reads: "If you sold your soul in the '80s." The blob, apparently getting nearer, becomes discernible as the New Beetle. "Here's your chance to buy it back," reads a second caption.
A particularly striking spot features the car revolving on a white background, with a dance track and samples of women discussing childhood memories. As the car turns, it changes colors. A caption asks: "What color do you dream in?"
"It would be silly to ignore the history of the car," said Ron Lawner, Arnold's chief creative officer.
Print ads retain the minimalist look found in the television spots. City-specific outdoor executions use headlines such as "Just what New York needs, a car that stops traffic." The campaign uses Arnold's 3-year-old "Drivers wanted" tagline.
Volkswagen has put at least a third of its $120 million ad budget behind the New Beetle. Of coarse, the campaign need do no more than maintain the model's icon status. In North America, the company expects to sell 50,000 New Beetles. --with Greg Farrel