Volkswagen Wants Latino Drivers

Volkswagen of America is challenging U.S. Hispanic consumers to “¡Agarra calle!”

The phrase, which, in English, translates to “Take the road!” is the tagline of Creative on Demand’s first campaign for the German automaker.

Campaign spending is undisclosed.

The Coral Gables, Fla., shop has produced six TV spots—breaking over the next month on the Telemundo and Univision Spanish-language networks—intended to convince Latinos that the VW brand is both familiar and exciting.

“Volkswagen is a car we’ve known all our lives, whether in the U.S. or Latin America,” said agency co-cd Priscilla Cortizas. “Yet brand awareness [‘You know me, you love me, don’t forget me’] has never been articulated in Spanish.”

In fact, research shows that “Drivers wanted,” the tag created by VW’s lead agency, Arnold in Boston, on the estimated $350-400 million North American account, is a disconnect with Hispanics, conjuring up, in some cases, images of livery service. “Our challenge was to capture the right insight and tailor it to the marketplace,” said co-cd Daniel Marrero, who with Cortizas, founded the agency.

Two 30-second spots that kick off the campaign characterize VW drivers as “fun-loving,” clever individuals driving “smart, reliable cars.”

In “Game Over,” Mario, a fastidious 20-something, walks off a soccer field to his immaculate silver Beetle. Three muddied friends ask for a ride. Mario, a quick study, pops out of his car, opens the hood and looks in dismay at the empty space where his engine should be. “¿Qué pasa?” (“What happened?”) one of the jocks exclaims. The trio looks elsewhere. As Mario gets in and starts his car, the narrator says, “The new Beetle Turbo S. As quick as you are.”

“The Beat-le” shows a VW driver at a party. Cool and composed, he is talking to a young woman, when he hears a faint sound piercing the rock music. Rushing to his Beetle, he discovers his buddies, tired of his flirtations, have set off the car’s alarm. “Never fails,” one mutters.

Upcoming spots showcase the Passat wagon, GTi and Jetta.