CP+B ‘Engineers’ Salvo for VW

NEW YORK Volkswagen next week breaks a North American campaign for the redesigned GTI that emphasizes the car’s German and “hot hatch” heritage.

The commercials, breaking on Feb. 20, feature a comical male and female German engineer duo in modern white lab-coat-style attire. They taunt impostors and “unpimp” their over-the-top rides. They shoot a car out of a catapult in one spot, crush a car with a crate (containing the new GTI) in another. In the third commercial, they crush a car with a wrecking ball.

The work comes on the heels of teaser ads that broke last week during the Olympics. Those spots introduced a rabbit-like mascot called “Fast.” [Adweek Online, Feb. 14].

The tagline, as heard in the final voiceover in each of the three spots, is “The GTI Mark V. Pre-tuned by German engineers.”

“There are people that think the [hot hatch] culture has gone too far and there’s a bit of a backlash from the Hollywood version. In some way they ruined what was a very organic and very cool thing,” said Alex Bogusky, chief creative officer at Miami-based Crispin Porter + Bogusky, a unit of MDC Partners.

Targeting males 18 to 49, the campaign includes Internet, outdoor and print iterations, rolling out nationally over the next couple of months.

“Our goal is to make VW famous and relevant again,” said Kerri Martin, director of marketing development at VW. “If the Beetle is the heart of the brand, then the GTI is the soul of the brand. It hits on all four things that really have made Volkswagen famous over the years: affordable, German engineering that is fun to drive and a distinctly European style.”

The “pre-tuned” series follows four spots that broke last week and introduced the new GTI mascot, “Fast,” a compact rabbit-like orb with sinister eyes and a red smile mirroring the grill of the vehicle.

VW spent $300 million in U.S. measured media during the first 11 months of 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. VW likely spent an estimated $50 million more in Canada.