Arnold Breaks VW Convertible Work

DETROIT — Arnold’s first TV spot for the new Volkswagen Beetle convertible breaks this week, a VW representative said. The commercial is an adaptation of a teaser spot that’s been running in 4,000 movie theaters nationally for several weeks and showed only part of the vehicle.

The entire Beetle is shown in the 60-second TV spot and a new theater version, which will continue to air.

Volkswagen of America is aggressively courting consumers even before the arrival of the Beetle convertible in showrooms. The car will debut in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The automaker last employed such a strategy for the Golf and Jetta launches in 1999, a VW representative said.

Arnold’s 60-second spot depicts the workweek routine of “Bill Briggs.” Snippets of his days, from waking up, showering and dressing to taking the escalator, drinking coffee and walking through the hallway, are shown against the song “Mr. Blue Sky” by the Electric Light Orchestra.

The screen at one point is split in four to show Briggs doing the same mundane duty on different days; the only difference is the color of his pastel button-down shirt and tie. The last scene shows Briggs looking dreamily out the window. In the teaser spots, which have been running in movie theaters the past several weeks, only the retracting roof of a convertible is shown. The TV version of the spot shows the entire vehicle. The tag remains, “Drivers Wanted.”

Along with the TV spot, Volkswagen is doing a six-city “buzz” tour this fall in which Beetle convertibles will be placed in high-traffic areas and linked to local radio station events in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Volkswagen of America spends about $450 million a year.

Frank Maguire, vice president of sales and marketing for Volkswagen of America, said during a speech he gave recently to automotive journalists in Miami that the company expects to sell 30,000 convertibles annually.