Volkswagen Puts the Messiness of Family Life Center Stage in Latest Ad

The effort promotes the company’s new Atlas three-row SUV

Volkswagen is hoping to connect with families from all backgrounds in its latest campaign.
Volkswagen

Screeching children. Sibling arguments. Slammed doors.

All of the above are found in Volkswagen’s latest campaign for its midsize SUV Atlas, which—you guessed it—is geared towards families. Created by Johannes Leonardo, which was named the automaker’s lead creative agency in the U.S. in February, the 90-second spot gives a fairly accurate portrayal of what day-to-day life looks like for many families across the U.S.

In the ad, viewers see four diverse American households go through their typical morning routines. Anyone with kids will no doubt recognize the meltdowns, screams and general chaos that ensues as the parents in the spot attempt to get their children dressed, fed and out the door.

The mayhem onscreen is juxtaposed with the song “These Are My People” by Johnny Cash, which helps Volkswagen convey its family-first messaging in a subtle yet sweet way. The ad concludes with each family piling into their Atlas as they head off to their kids’ extracurricular activities.

The words “There’s room for everyone” also appear at the end, a nod to the inclusive mindset the brand is hoping to relay by featuring families from different backgrounds in the spot.

“Values of inclusivity are part of VW’s DNA,” said Jimm Lasser, who Johannes Leonardo hired as executive creative director in June to lead creative for the brand. “The new Atlas’ spaciousness is not just comfortable, it’s specifically designed to welcome all the shapes, sizes and needs of the American family. The feeling of knowing that ‘you’ll all fit’ is a good one, and the end-line ‘There’s room for everyone’ reflects that.”

According to Lasser, the agency cast four real families in the spot to “bring a layer of authenticity” to the work.

Volkswagen’s campaign marks the latest example of brands striving to display more authentic portrayals of parenthood; for instance, Pampers unveiled an ad last month that sought to ease fears around the struggles and stresses that new parents face.

The automaker’s work is also part of the company’s overall effort to move on from its 2015 emissions scandal. In June, Johannes Leonardo revealed its first campaign for the brand, which referenced the scandal in an attempt to position it as a blessing in disguise that led to Volkswagen’s push into electric vehicles.

The company also recently brought on Saad Chehab, who formerly led marketing at Kia, as senior vice president of marketing in the U.S.

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