Volkswagen's Cute New Ad Star Is the Toughest Baby Ram in All the Land

But then he meets the T-Roc SUV

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For the global launch of Volkswagen’s T-Roc SUV, adam&eveDDB and DDB Berlin/Hamburg joined forces to produce this quirky piece of work.

“Born Confident” follows a young ram, born with thick black wool and fully grown ram horns. Instead of getting all Ugly Duckling about it, though, it lets its freak flag fly, intimidating human men and bulls alike.

Our dark soldier soon becomes the leader of the pack. Until he meets his match.

You probably don’t have to guess who that match is. We confess it’s a little disappointing to see him scowl everyone down, only to cower before the grill of a massive car whose driver is bemusedly watching him back away. Directed by Nick Gordon of Somesuch, the ad ends with the words “Born Confident,” which applies as much to the car as the animal.

“For Volkswagen, the T-Roc is a self-confident step in a new segment, since it stands out from the crowd and leaves a lasting impression,” says Jürgen Stackmann, member of the Volkswagen Management Board. “You can see this impressively in our new film.”

The T-Roc is Volkswagen’s smallest SUV model to date, boasting the “confidence” of an SUV with the “agility” of a sporty compact. In addition to the functional practicality expected of the brand (pre-emissions scandal, anyway), it’s taking a shot at being attractive: The car can be customized and features new design flourishes, including a more raked tailgate, aluminum detailing and a new front-end design.

The ram is thus a metaphor for the T-Roc’s compactness and flair.

“We needed to create a baby ram with lifelike proportions, staying true to physical anatomy,” says 3-D creative director Carsten Keller of MPC, whose in-house software brought the ram (dubbed Bam) to life. “To make him feel real, subtlety was key. Push the animation and ‘acting’ too hard, and you instantly lose believability.”

A super-impressive making-of video demonstrates how MPC created what felt like a realistic character without making it too cartoony. Everything, from the ridges of his horns to the distribution of dirt on his wool, was accounted for. It almost makes us sorry that he basically only exists to make something else look better.

The TV ad launches a complete “Born Confident” campaign, which will include print and out-of-home. A microsite will feature four more online films, and social media ads will target the T-Roc’s core audience. By year’s end, expect to see it rolling across Europe—like wind-kissed tufts of computer generated wool whose every movement has been informed by algorithm.

Client: Volkswagen
Agency: adam&eveDDB
Group Chief Creative Officer : Ben Priest
Executive Creative Director: Rick Brim
Copywriter: Patrick McClelland
Art director: Feargal Ballance
Global Business Director: Toby Pschorr
Business Director: Mike Stern
Account Director: Matthew Harris
Account Director: Dominik Schmid
Producer : Lucie Georgeson
Junior Producer: Natasha Alderson
Group Chief Strategy Office: David Golding
Head of Planning: Nick Hirst
Media agency: PHD
Production company: Somesuch
Director: Nick Gordon
DOP: Alwin Kuchler
Production Executive Producer: Seth Wilson
Production Producer : James Waters
Post Production : MPC
Executive Producer: Anandi Peiris
VFX Creative Director: Carsten Keller
VFX 3D Supervisor: Fabian Frank
CG Animation Lead: David Bryan
VFX 2D Supervisor: Dan Sanders
Colourist: George K
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Design & Mix: Sam Ashwell
Audio Producer: Mary-Ann D’Cruz
Editing : Final Cut
Editor : Dan Sherwen
Music Supervision Company: Leland Music
Music Supervisors: Abi Leland, Toby William, Ed Bailie