Ad of the Day: Volkswagen

The brand shows its range, from poignant to comic, in spots for the Passat and Jetta

In a way, it's surprising that Volkswagen and Deutsch had such a megahit with "The Force." (For those under a Geico-ish rock, that would be the 2011 Super Bowl spot that's racked up 53 million views to date on YouTube.) Brands usually have to go big and loud to enjoy such mass effect. Think of Evian's roller babies (56 million), for example, or the Old Spice guy's first spot (41 million). The Star Wars theme elevated "The Force" to a kind of spectacle, but at its core it was a simple, subtle spot. Much of the brand's recent work has that the same unassuming quality, going back to Arnold's famed 1999 "Milky Way" spot with Nick Drake's "Pink Moon." This is a brand that's often happy to be driving away from the party while others are driving up to it.

Two new VW spots from Deutsch in Los Angeles continue this evocative yet understated storytelling. The first, for the Passat, shows a teenager who has just crashed his car—or rather, his dad's car. As he frets with his friend and fellow passenger, the boy utters the traditional remark: "My dad's going to kill me, dude." On-screen text then offers a nice twist on that hoary comment, as a way into a discussion about safety.

The second spot, for the Jetta, is a bit more odd. Called "Door Thunk," it shows a man shutting his Jetta door, which causes a rain of kids' toys to fall from the sky. Seems the car is so well built that even just the weighty impact of the door closing can dislodge long-lost items from trees. "The solid thunk of the door on the Jetta," says the voiceover. "Another example of Volkswagen quality."

The spots don't call attention to themselves, but they add to brand's tradition of simple storytelling designed to lend a sheen of quality and family friendliness. The automaker has its regular breakout hits—not just "The Force" but perfectly pitched ads like last year's "Rocket Man" for the Passat. But even its less heralded work does the job well. Whatever the reliability of the vehicles themselves, this is advertising you can always count on.

CREDITS

Client: Volkswagen

Chief Product and Marketing Officer: Tim Mahoney

General Manager Brand Marketing: Brian Thomas

Brand Communications Manager: Jeff Sayen

General Manager, Marketing Communications: Justin Osborne

Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles

—Spot: "Crash"

Deutsch Creative Credits:

Chief Creative Officer: Mark Hunter

Group Creative Director: Michael Kadin

Group Creative Director: Matt Ian

Associate Creative Director: Brian Friedrich

Art Director: Paul Oberlin

Copywriter: Matt Sherman

Director of Integrated Production: Vic Palumbo

Director of Broadcast Production: Victoria Guenier

Producer: Dave Stephenson

Production Company Credits and Address:

Imperial Woodpecker

1707 Berkely St., Santa Monica, Calif. 90404

Director: Simon McQuoid

Director of Photography: Hoyte van Hoytema

Executive Producer: Doug Halbert

Producer: Anita Wetterstedt

Editorial Company Credits and Address:

Cut + Run

2044 Broadway, Santa Monica, Calif. 90404

Editor: Steve Gandolfi

Assistant Editor: Isaac Chen

Managing Director: Michelle Burke

Producer: Christie Price

Post/VFX/Online Credits:

The Mill

3233 South La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif., 90016

Colorist: Adam Scott

Online/VFX Artist: Gareth Parr

Executive Producer: Ben Hampshire

Executive Producer: Sue Troyan

Producer: Sabrina Elizondo

Audio Post Company Credits and Address: