Arnold Unveils New Beetle TV Spots

Campaign Puts a Modern Spin on Breakthrough 1960s Work
BOSTON–Arnold Communications’ five TV spots for Volkswagen of America’s New Beetle evoke the spirit of the bug’s ads from the ’60s and pairs it with special effects and some left-field ’90s rock choices.
Each spot shows the car–and little else–on a white background. The ads are differentiated mainly by their music (experimental beats from Spiritualized and ambient dubs from The Orb, for instance). Arnold is obviously hoping to repeat the success it had with “Da Da Da” for the Golf.
One spot starts with a shimmering blue blob on the bright white background. A caption fades in: “If you sold your soul in the ’80s.” The blob, apparently getting nearer, then becomes discernible as a New Beetle heading straight toward the viewer. “Here’s your chance to buy it back,” concludes a second caption.
Another ad features a revolving bug that changes colors. Dance music and the sound of women discussing their childhood memories plays under the caption: “What color do you dream in?” The spots break March 23.
Print work retains the minimalist look. City-specific outdoor uses copy such as, “Just what New York needs, a car that stops traffic.” The “Drivers wanted” tag appears on all ads.
“It would be silly to ignore the history of the car,” said Arnold chief creative officer Ron Lawner, referring to Doyle Dane Bernbach’s advertising.
VW has put at least $40 million behind the campaign. Of course, the ads need do no more than maintain the car’s icon status: Some dealerships have already sold all their initial inventory. –with Greg Farrel