Ad of the Day: Volkswagen

Automaker goes for smiles with an ad full of laughter and a new content play online

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.

CREDITS

Client: Volkswagen

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

Director: Everynone

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

Online, Visual Effects Company: Method Studios

Producer: Stephanie Allis

Visual Effects Supervisor: Thomas Downs

Music, Composer: Lullatone, Japan

Scored, Original Music: Shawn James Seymour

Audio Post Company: Lime Studios

Mixer: Mark Meyuhas

Assistant: Matt Miller

Producer: Jessica Locke

Additional Deutsch Credits:

Account Management Credits:

Chief Executive Officer: Mike Sheldon

Group Account Director: Tom Else

Account Directors: Chris Carter, Monica Jungbeck

Account Supervisor: Alex Gross

Account Planners:

Chief Strategic Officer: Jeffrey Blish

Group Planning Director: Doug Van Praet

Legal, Broadcast:

Director of Integrated Business Affairs: Abilino Guillermo

Broadcast Traffic Manager: Sarah Brennan