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VW’s Animal Kingdom Inspirations

The Volkswagen Company, and the automotive industry in general, along with many other advertisers, have a long history of featuring animal related symbolisms, analogies, metaphors, and parodies, in their commercials and advertising campaigns, that predominantly find favour with viewing audiences. 

Why audiences tend to respond positively, was explained by a study undertaken at The University of Texas at Austin titled; ‘Advertising and The Cultural Meaning of Animals’ by Professor Barbara Phillip, that revealed animals can be catalysts for emotively resonant advertising campaigns. 

Viewers globally tend to make an instant connection with animals that can surround a brand with associations that evoke many different emotions, all of which can impact positively on the viewer. 

The study concludes that animals in commercials = smart advertising.

1. Volkswagen T-Roc, Born Confident

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK, and DDB Berlin/Hamburg, Germany

Production Company: Somesuch, London, UK

VFX and Animation: Moving Picture Company, London UK

Directed by filmmaker Nick Gordon, and filmed on the west coast of Sweden, in the Gothenburg area, the T-Roc commercial features ‘Bam the Ram’, who like Volkswagen’s smallest SUV, was born confident.

The masterly produced commercial, of the tough little ram, that exemplifies the confidence of Volkswagen’s crossover model, features a soundtrack of guitarist and singer, Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way”. 

2. VW Tiguan Trailer Assist, Laughing Horses

Adverting Agency: Grabarz & Partner, Hamburg, Germany

Production Company: Czar, Berlin, Germany

The globally popular VW Trailer Assist commercial, directed by filmmaker Bart Timmer, features laughing horses that are amusingly watchable.

From being Volkswagen Germany’s most successful online commercial debut of all time motivating 40 million views, to its TV viewing flighting, the Tiguan Trailer Assist scenario garnered a bevy of awards from The One Show, New York Festivals, Epica, Eurobest, D&AD, Clio, Lia, Cannes, and ADCE.

3. Volkswagen, Woofwagen

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK

Production Company: Stink Studios, London, UK

Directed by filmmaker Ivan Zacharias,‘Woofwagen’ features an inspiringly conceived and fun scenario, of matching 36 different dog breeds to individual car drivers of various VW models. 

The integrated, multi-screen VW corporate campaign proposition, of ‘there is a car for all’, also underscores the human truth that it would be hard to find a more reliably loving and appreciative car companion than one’s own pet dogs.

The soundtrack features the song “Me and You”, by poet, children’s author, and singer, Barry Louis Polisar, from Brooklyn, New York.

4. VW Tiguan Allspace, Stork

AlmapBBDO, Sao Paulo, Brazil

To launch VW Brazil’s new family-sized Tiguan SUV, AlmpBBDO’s creative conceptualisers, were inspired by the folkloric tales of the mythical baby-delivering Stork.

The scenario, directed by filmmaker Claudio Borrelli from the TVC Production Killers studios, cleverly unveils the many features the Tiguan Allspace has to offer in a cinematic commercial of great charm.

5. Volkswagen Golf TDI, Hedgehogs

Advertising Agency: Agence. V., Paris, France

The cinematic visualisation of hedgehogs on a mysterious full-moon pilgrimage, was directed by Special Effects Akama Studio’s Alexandre Ada, and VFX/CG Supervisor Stephane Montel, featuring a soundtrack of “Alice’s Theme”, from the ‘Alice In Wonderland’ dark fantasy adventure film, directed by Tim Burton.

Even though this computer generated, award-winning animation commercial, was produced more than a decade ago, to me the romanticised story still resonates with impressive impact.

6. VW Rabbit, The Chase

Advertising Agency: DDB, Barcelona, Spain

Production Company: Errecerre International, Madrid, Spain

This classic Volkswagen Rabbit/Golf commercial, directed by filmmaker Daniel Benmayor, features scores of Greyhounds chasing a rabbit, in an entertainingly analogous scenario, that effectively highlights the nimble VW Rabbit’s price advantage.