Ad of the Day: Volkswagen Breaks Out No. 2 Pencil for Great Homage to A-ha’s ‘Take on Me’

It's 1985 again

Today in semi-obscure but fantastic source material for ads: A-ha's famous video for "Take on Me" has inspired the fun new Volkswagen spot below by Deutsch LA.

The VW spot, directed by David Shane, whose résumé includes Bud Light's "Swear Jar," is a combination of stills, animated sequences and live action, just like the original video. And like the original, it was rotoscoped—meaning they filmed the actors and the cars and then animated the results.

The automaker must have figured enough of the target market was soaking up MTV in the mid-1980s to make this worthwhile. The original video, directed by Steve Barron, made the song famous rather than the other way around—the track was released three times before finally hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1985, a year after it was recorded. The video won six prizes at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards but was beaten out for Video of the Year by another Barron production—the video for "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits.

The end of the VW spot is amusing, and true to life: As Rolling Stone has noted, "Take on Me" does indeed have "one of the hardest-to-sing choruses in pop history."


Client: Volkswagen of America

Interim Chief Marketing Officer: Wayne Brannon

Vice President, Marketing: Kevin Mayer

General Manager, Marketing Communications: Justin Osborne

Advertising Manager: Jeff Sayen

Advertising Specialist: Chanel Arola

Spot: "Feeling Carefree"

Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles

Executive Creative Director: Michael Kadin

Group Creative Director: Matt Ian

Creative Director: Mark Peters

Associate Creative Director: Ryan Scott

Director of Integrated Production: Vic Palumbo

Director of Content Production: Victoria Guenier

Executive Integrated Producer: Jim Haight

Production Company: O Positive

Director: David Shane

Executive Producer: Marc Grill

Line Producer: Ken Licata

Editorial Company: Union Editorial

Editor: Jim Haygood

Assistant Editor: Dylan Firshein

Executive Producer: Michael Raimondi

Producer: Joe Ross

Post Facility: Company 3

Colorist: Beau Leon

Animation, Visual Effects Company: Passion Pictures

Head of Production: Anna Lord

Executive Producer: Alex Webster

Producer: Matt Saxton

Director: John Roberston

Music/Composer: "Take On Me"

Performed by a-ha

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc. & Sony/ATV Music Publishing

By arrangement with Warner Music Group Commercial Licensing & Sony/ATV Commercial Music Group

Audio Post: Lime

Mixer: Mark Meyuhas

Assistant: Matt Miller

Producer: Jessica Locke

Additional Deutsch Credits:

Chief Executive Officer: Mike Sheldon

Account Management Credits:

Group Account Director: Tom Else

Account Director: Monica Jungbeck

Account Supervisor: Alex Gross

Account Executive: Tara Poosti

Assistant Account Executive: Mary Cherwien

Product Specialist: Eddie Chae

Account Planners:

Chief Strategic Officer: Jeffrey Blish

Group Planning Director: Susie Lyons


Director of Integrated Business Affairs: Abilino Guillermo

Group Director, Integrated Business Affairs: Gabriela Farias

Director or Broadcast Traffic: Carie Bonillo

Broadcast Traffic Manager: Courtney Tylka