VW Marks Apollo 11’s 50th Anniversary With Its Own Moonshot: Going Carbon Neutral by 2050

It's another step past the brand's emissions scandal

VW is bringing back its iconic bus ... but with an electric twist. Volkswagen
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On July 20, 1969, the world collectively held its breath as it witnessed a historical “giant leap” for America. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to traverse the surface of the moon, they immediately became beacons of boundless possibilities and an example of what happens when one dares to dream. There was the all-too-brief shared moment of awe, where everyone took a moment to shake their personal politics to process the unequivocal achievement that took place in space. That’s what it took to unify a nation: a legendary feat that far surpassed any of their imaginations.

Volkswagen does not wish to recreate the moon landing, per se. However, the newest ad in their Drive Bigger campaign titled “A New Mission” celebrates the 50th anniversary of the historic walk.

With the help of creative agency Johannes Leonardo, the minute-long short film captures the moment when the world gathered around their TV screens with bated breath as they watched history being redefined. David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” seems a predictable choice, yet it seals the awe-inspiring vibe as it plays in the background, highlighting how much of an impact this moment had on both art and science.

All things considered, any “new mission” that attempts to outpace the significance of the moon landing would be amount to nothing more than a fool’s errand. Volkswagen does, however, want to lead another cultural shift, and it begins with the vision of a greener future. At the end of the film, Volkswagen revealed a plan to majorly invest in a more electric future, including vastly expanding the presence of electric vehicles on the road and going carbon neutral globally by 2050.

It’s a far departure from VW’s emissions scandal, which they are seemingly working diligently to rectify. While global warming (still, inexplicably) continues to be a point of contention in different areas of politics, any large-scale effort to better the planet should be widely supported. Volkswagen is aiming to not only spread their new, greener agenda but to give the world something to rally behind, much like Aldrin and Armstrong did 50 years ago.

“It’s one thing to put an electric car out into the world, but it’s an entirely different undertaking when the world’s largest car company sets out to have a positive impact on the planet by committing to going carbon neutral, and unveiling new electric models so everyone can come along for the ride,” said Leo Premutico, founder and CCO at Johannes Leonardo. “It’s not often when a brand in this category focuses on something bigger than its vehicles. VW [is] putting its flag in the ground on our biggest mission yet—to protect the only home we know.”

Shannon Miller is a writer, podcast creator and contributor to Adweek.