“I was told this car was dangerously roomy. I might never see the light of day again,” says Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader in mock-seriousness before entering the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta in a new online video from the carmaker.
The video is part of a series, “Inside the VW Academy,” launched this month to pitch several of VW’s 2011 models. In each ad, Hader lobs absurdities at his straight man – VW spokeswoman Danielle Gumro – as she describes each vehicle’s features with machine-like precision. The format is a new take on the “walk around” videos that are common in automotive advertising.
“When you go to car sites, you see the slide shows and voice over interviews with designers. It’s a formula,” said Josh Rose, digital creative director at Deutsch LA, the agency behind the video series. “We wanted to break out of it and entertain and inform at the same time.”
“We want to provide a variety of destinations that will allow people to share the content,” said Bridgett Judd, digital group account director at Deutsch.
Early ads cover the Jetta, Tiguan and Touareg models and range in length from 1:19 to 3:01. They have received between 6,000 and 116,000 views on YouTube and have amassed over 350,000 views.
“People spend a lot of time researching online so our goal was to make long form content that highlights the features of the car in a new way. With the VW Academy videos we wanted to see how entertaining we could get and still talk about the features of the car,” Judd said.
Nine Inside the VW Academy videos have been made, with six currently playing at YouTube; the rest will be distributed soon. This week Deutsch begins shooting nine more ads on different VW models with a total of 18 planned for the series, which will continue to play as long as the models are current, according to a VW spokeswoman.
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