Volkswagen gets fans to shoot its latest campaign

The automaker aims to show off the capabilities of the new Jetta without the "artifice" of typical car ads.


Volkswagen Canada enlisted the help of 100 onlookers to highlight the new Jetta GLI’s power and sporty appeal in the real world, getting them to use their own cameras – whether it was phones, point-and-shoots, drones or GoPros – for an attention-grabbing stunt.

The resulting “Power to the People” spot is comprised of multiple shots taken from the same angles edited together, capturing NASCAR driver Maryeve Dufault as she skids sideways across a bridge and whips around a closed course in her hometown of Sorel-Tracy, Quebec.

“We closed down the town for this,” says Virginie Ludmer, marketing manager for Volkswagen Canada, who says that every stunt in the commercial is real so viewers can get a sense of how the vehicle really handles in a more genuine way, free from the artifice of a typical car commercial.

“People put their heart into it and wanted their shot in the commercial,” Ludmer says, who admits the shoot became competitive, as people were discovering directorial talents they did not know they had, employing slow-motion and other techniques.

Ludmer says Volkswagen considers itself “the people’s brand,” and she says it wanted to reward stakeholders who “have a fascination with VWs” and are willing to share their own stories to promote it (Volkswagen Canada has a supplemental microsite, “Just Ask a VW Driver,” which covers topics like maintenance, model differences, handling, and mileage. It was adapted from the “Just Ask a Golf Driver,” platform also developed by DDB).

That said, the automaker decided to reach out to more than just Volkswagen fans and owners for this campaign, including fans of auto racing as well. Ludmer says she was also surprised by the young families who attended the event for a model that normally appeals to millennial men.

The campaign was developed by DDB Canada, the agency’s last campaign for the automaker (which is moving its work to a consortium of WPP agencies as part of a North America-wide assignment). Creative for the five-week campaign includes bilingual 90-, 30- and 15-second versions of the spot, as well as YouTube masthead digital and social, and in-cinema preshow games. Touche! is responsible for media planning and buying.