Volkswagen Powered an Entire Music Video With an Electric Car Battery, and Fans Were Into It

Nord DDB brings back a 1995 Swedish dance hit

Swedish artist Rein covers the 1995 Eurodance track 'Electric' in a video whose production was solely powered by an e-Golf battery. Nord DDB
Headshot of David Griner

Few things spark more well-deserved skepticism than the phrase “branded music video.” But Volkswagen and agency Nord DDB came up with one that steers clear of being cringeworthy and falling into the usual product-worship clichés.

“Electric” is a cover of Swedish artist Leila K’s 1995 track from the Eurodance era, this time covered by another Swede: electro punk musician Rein.

To promote its investment in 100 percent electric cars, Volkswagen created a video for the cover and powered the shoot off just one battery from an e-Golf:

“Both Rein and ‘Electric’ felt like an obvious collab for our electric car venture,” says Jeanette Asteborg, marketing director at Volkswagen Sweden. “The song is a timeless classic with a focus on electricity. It is a difficult song to take on, but when we heard Rein we felt that she could both carry the song but also make it even more ‘electric.'”

Fan response to the video was quite positive, with nearly 800,000 views on YouTube so far. That’s pretty impressive for a cover of a 24-year-old song that only charted Top 10 in Sweden and Finland. And many of the comments left by Swedes referred to it as one of the only ads they’ve ever enjoyed watching: “The first time I really appreciated an advertising break,” commented one. “Thanks for the advertising you actually look forward to,” wrote another.

The video is part of a larger VW campaign called “Let’s Get Electric,” which has also included videos demonstrating an electric car battery powering a massive wind turbine or an industrial electromagnet.

“We wanted to illustrate the power a car battery actually has,” says Simon Higby, creative at Nord DDB. “‘Kilowatt hours’ doesn’t really say much to most people. That’s why we chose to create these examples, where we show what you could do with the power in a battery—pop 44 cubic meters of popcorn, run a rock concert or drive 300 kilometers, for example.”

Here’s a look behind the scenes at the video and larger campaign:

If you’re not Scandinavian or a big fan of global dance music, you might have missed the original “Electric” back in its day. Here’s what Leila K’s original video looked like:

Volkswagen Passenger Cars
Jeanette Asteborg –Marketing Director
Carl Sundstedt –Commercial Manager
Sara Brunfelter – Content Manager
Marcus Thomasfolk – Head of Communication
Fredrik Wiss –Product Manager, Electric Vehicles

Nord DDB
Maja Björklén – Client Director
Therese Loodin – Client Manager
Andreas Dahlqvist – Chief Creative Officer
Simon Higby – Creative Lead
Patrik Pagréus – Art Director
Hans Malm – Copywriter
Per Sundin – Copywriter
Susanne Johansson – PR Director
Jesper Andersson – Communications Planner
Jesper Hellzen – Design Director
Katarina Streiler – Creative Designer
Mikael Norberg – Designer
Martin Thor – Designer
Eddie Werholm – Designer
Anna Lisspers – Print Byer
Emelie Thorén – Social Media & Content Manager
Mattias Nordenham – Digital Designer
Magnus Widén – Tech Director
Stefan Wikström – Digital Producer

Animation – Nico Knudsen
Photo – Hans Malm

House Agency
Agency Producer: Per Welén
Postproduction, House Agency
Postproducers: Tomas Wall / Jakob Andersson
Artists: Jakob Andersson / Robert Eskekärr

Behind the scenes:
Director BTS / Producer BTS: Matilda Callenbo
Editors: Haris Badic / Edward Lever
Online / Grade: Edward Lever
VFX: Tomas Wall

Production company: Aspekt
Director: Linnéa Bergman
Producer: Nathalie Cohen
Production Manager: Andreas Hansson
Executive Producer: Kim Buisson
DOP: Gösta Reiland
Gaffer: Peter Kjellberg
Grip: Emil Hall
Set Designer: Tobias Allanson
Styling/ costume: Martin Bergström
Hair/makeup: Josefina Zarman
Editor: Alexander Peri
Postproduction and Online: Kalle Lundberg
Grade: Nicke Jacobsson

Sound mix: Fredrik Sundberg Plopp

Artist: Rein
Title: Electric
Producers: Jocke Åhlund and Tony Senghore
Label: Playground Music
PR: Elin Hedman PR

Media agency: PHD

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@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."